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3: Reviewing the literature

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    • 3.1: Introduction to reviewing the literature
      Systematic reviews are increasingly recognized as an essential step in health care research. They are a method designed to produce an objective, unbiased, up-to-date summary of available evidence. In this chapter, an outline is given of the methods used to systematically review the medical literature and to assess the risk of bias in the identified studies.
    • 3.2: Systematic reviews
      Reviewing the literature can be a daunting task. The volume of information available through published papers, or the Internet, is vast and constantly expanding. Given the volume of literature available, an ‘ad hoc’ review of the literature is subject to substantial biases if only some studies are included, since the studies that are found this way may well not be representative of all the relevant studies. The best way to ensure an objective and unbiased review of the literature is to conduct a
    • 3.3: Software available for systematic reviews and meta-analyses
      Systematic reviews involve managing large quantities of information. There are various software packages available which can be used to prepare systematic reviews. For example, the Cochrane Collaboration produces a freely available program called RevMan which is a Windows-based software package designed to enter reviews in the Cochrane format. This includes an analysis module (MetaView) for quantitative summaries.
    • 3.4: Reporting findings from systematic reviews
      There are several guidelines for reporting results of a systematic review. The most recent are the PRISMA guidelines (<>) which are given in Table 3.4 (Moher et al., 2009).
    • 3.5: References
      Clark, S. and Horton, R. 2010. Putting research into context—revisited. Lancet, 376, 10–11.[Cross Ref][PubMed]

    This page titled 3: Reviewing the literature is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Drue H. Barrett, Angus Dawson, Leonard W. Ortmann (Oxford University Press) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.