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Evidence-based Practice in Healthcare

This guide is designed to assist health care professionals and students become effective and efficient users of the medical literature.

Characteristics of a Good Literature Review in Health & Medicine

Clear Objectives and Research Questions: The review should start with clearly defined objectives and research questions that guide the scope and focus of the review.

Comprehensive Coverage: Include a wide range of relevant sources, such as research articles, review papers, clinical guidelines, and books. Aim for a broad understanding of the topic, covering historical developments and current advancements. To do this, an intentional and minimally biased search strategy.

Transparency and Replicability: The review process, search strategy, should be transparent, with detailed documentation of all steps taken. This allows others to replicate the review or update it in the future.

Appraisal of Studies Included: Each included study should be critically appraised for methodological quality and relevance. Use standardized appraisal tools to assess the risk of bias and the quality of evidence.

Clear Synthesis and Discussion of Findings: The review should provide a thorough discussion of the findings, including any patterns, relationships, or trends identified in the literature. Address the strengths and limitations of the reviewed studies and the review itself. Present findings in a balanced and unbiased manner, avoiding over interpretation or selective reporting of results.

Implications for Practice and Research: The review should highlight the practical implications of the findings for medical practice and policy. It should also identify gaps in the current literature and suggest areas for future research.

Referencing and Citation: Use proper citation practices to credit original sources. Provide a comprehensive reference list to guide readers to the original studies.

Note: A literature review is not a systematic review. For more information about systematic reviews and different types of evidence synthesis projects, see the Evidence Synthesis guide.