Literature Reviews & Library Resources: An Introduction

Literature Reviews & Library Resources: An Introduction



this short tutorial will introduce you to the basic steps of conducting a literature review from defining your question to setting the sources you ultimately decide to use it will also highlight some of the MCW libraries and other resources that are available to help you with your literature review this is a simple outline of the steps in the literature research process we will go over each of these steps briefly in this tutorial note that steps three four and five are all a part of the process of actually finding the literature these steps will be demonstrated using MCW library's resources step one define your research topic or question these are some basic strategies for defining your research question some of this may be familiar but it is worth reiterating first of all context is important you need to understand the parameters you're working within well there's a specific assignment providing information to colleagues or writing an article for publication the context influences how you might approach your topic and will help you think about the types of resources you'll need next when thinking about your research question start by identifying a general area think about what you're personally interested in if you're not interested it's much harder to get motivated once you have a general idea of what you're interested in you'll want to focus it to a specific area within your general topic for example a specific geographic location or whether you want to know about causes of the disease versus treatments you may even do some basic literature searches on your general topic to help you figure out aspects that might be available to concentrate on and finally you'll want to use measurable action words that help you move towards an interesting question to answer with your literature review action words are nouns derived from verbs and include words like contribution development or assessment here are two example topics think for a second about which one you think represents a stronger research question of the two the second example would probably be considered the better choice there is a clear specific question on a focus topic of personal interest using an action word to specify exactly what the literature review is seeking to answer here are a few more tips for helping you develop your research question the Pico model is generally used to generate clinical questions but it can be helpful to think about for any health-related evidence-based research question if you're having trouble focusing in on a specific topic try thinking of your area of interest in terms of a patient population intervention comparison and outcome the pico model strength is that it can help you identify your key search terms one final tip for step 1 bounce your ideas off of others research doesn't happen in a vacuum your colleagues classmates and instructors can provide helpful feedback speaking with a librarian is another good option once you have your research question the next step is to describe it using keywords you may want to create a list of keywords before you do any searching this list gives you a starting place that may grow and change as you think about your topic read more about it get exposed to synonyms and see the controlled vocabulary keywords are literally one or two-word phrases that you'll use to put together your search and may or may not be explicitly stated in your research question when you're creating your list think about related terms including terms that may be broader or narrower synonyms are also important as not every article or book describes the same topic with the same words if you are searching in databases like a library catalog or pubmed taking advantage of controlled vocabulary can also be very helpful for locating items that might be about your topic but use different words to describe it using controlled vocabulary will be demonstrated in a bit steps three four and five are the key components of actually finding and acquiring the literature you will use for your lit review step three is performing your searches to get results you may use in your literature review step four is reviewing those results to determine which items are actually of use to you Step five is accessing the full text of articles or books that may be helpful these steps may be repeated done simultaneously and are done in a slightly different order but you will complete them all at some point during the whole process before moving into a demonstration of performing a search evaluating the results and accessing the text steps three four and five I would like to point out some of the resources that are available to you for completing these steps in the first place the links on the slide are clickable so please feel free to pause the module open them up and bookmark them the MCW libraries have a number of resources pertinent to public health and there are also great free resources from recognized organizations such as the partners and information access for the public health workforce now we will do a quick demonstration of the three steps using two of the many resources available through the MCW libraries this is the MCW library's homepage for more information about the many services and resources available to you during your literature review and your entire time as an MCW student please feel free to explore our website including taking a look at all the resources available on our resources page if you have questions or like assistance at any time just click the ask us button now let's start with PubMed for our literature search demonstration use the pubmed linkout link on our home page under the jump starts menu using the specific link out link will connect pubmed with MCW journal subscriptions which is important for accessing the full text of articles this will be demonstrated momentarily let's use the malnutrition example as our demonstration search we will keep the search fairly simple for additional help with more advanced searching in PubMed please contact the MTW libraries and our make use of the help documentation and tutorials from PubMed itself note that the use of boolean searching the ands ORS and nesting parentheses allows us to take advantage of related terms and synonyms boolean searching is a strategy that can be used in many electronic literature resources after clicking search we see the search results and can move ahead with evaluating them step 4 in our literature review process remember to keep in mind your original question in this case I'm interested in the impact malnutrition has on this population so articles on topics like risk factors and supplementation are not of direct interest this article looks interesting let's take a look at the abstract by clicking on the title the first thing I want to point out in the citation record is that it is a MEDLINE record these records make up the majority but not all of PubMed records and notably it means that the citation has controlled vocabulary assigned to it in PubMed this controlled vocabulary is called mesh for medical subject headings looking at the controlled vocabulary can help you identify additional keywords for searching as well as help you understand what the article is about you can also use the mesh terms directly by adding them to your search many other citation databases also take advantage of controlled vocabulary as i mentioned in step 2 the other important thing to note in the record is the get it from MCW libraries button this is the button that will allow you to access the full text if we subscribe to it or request it from another library if we don't pubmed is just one example you will see the Get It button or a get at link throughout our citation databases and this tool allows you to access the information directly this is step 5 in our literature review process now that we've done a quick search in the article citation database pubmed let's take a look at one other resource the MCW library's catalog you can also access this resource from the jump starts menu on our homepage by default you will see the screen for searching titles let's switch to the keyword search option which will allow us to search across all fields for all items there are some search tips that can be helpful to take a look at but I'm just going to do a basic search the search results by default are ranked by a relevancy algorithm you can also sort by date to see the most recent items first in general books won't be as recent as articles but books do tend to give broader overviews and provide information that has been well established as I scroll through the list in date order I'll note that my basic search did not pull up very many recent items that are actually useful this is an example of a time where you might want to tweak your search or look for in a more appropriate place to search but this reducing the impact of poverty on health book looks like it's a possible interest and I want to point out that anything with a link to online content will be available to you electronically no matter where you are located let's click on the record to take a look at a couple of things again there's a link to click into the content I would like to point out the tab for the full record here you can see that the keyword malnutrition appeared in a couple of places in the provided table of contents as I scroll down to the bottom we can also see the subjects given to this book the subjects come from another controlled vocabulary much like mesh and again may be very helpful in your searching that's the end of my quick demonstration of just two of the resources available to you while pubmed and our library catalog are good starting points for many biomedical and health related literature reviews you may not find what you're looking for in either of those places but the general principles of searching evaluating your search results looking for controlled vocabulary and accessing materials electronically when available are applicable wherever you're searching and if you need help with your search terms or with deciding where to look for the literature please feel free to contact the MCW libraries now we will briefly discuss the final step in the literature review process braiding your paper and properly citing the sources you use first be sure you're familiar with the formatting and other requirements laid out in your syllabus although this seems obvious it's common for people to remember an assignment as requiring one thing when in reality it requires something completely different next take advantage of the resources available to you in terms of actually writing your paper there are a number of websites books and other tools that you may find helpful the libraries have pulled together a guide with many of these resources please feel free to pause this video click the link and bookmark it finally be sure to cite your sources any time you are using an idea from another person whether agreeing disagreeing or simply quoting you need to give proper attribution not giving proper attribution is plagiarism citing your sources also allows your readers to easily return to the original sources the MCW library is subscribed to a very useful tool called refworks that will allow you to create citations and bibliographies using the required citation style learning the ins and outs of how to use refworks is beyond the scope of this module but the MCW library staff are happy to provide training and support and there are also a number of tutorials and other resources available including online tutorials that we can point you to that concludes our module on the steps in a literature review and the resources available to you thank you for taking the time to view this module we hope you have found it helpful

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