Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Systematic literature review again

When researching, you need to know what you don't know. "Ignorance is undervalued" was the starting point of a session on systematically reviewing the literature. And:
"Research is the process of going up alleys to see if they're blind"(Marston Bates)
Colin Pilbeam at the BAM conference set out a framework for a systematic review, explaining that
  1. a critical review comes before
  2. a scoping study that leads into
  3. the systematic review.
I hadn't realised that sequence. They mentioned Wallace and Wray - a quick search gives me this recent overview from an enthusiastic student who recommends their framework too and gives a link to downloading questions for a critical review.

The overheads that Colin Pilbeam and Rob Briner displayed gave me a better sense of being systematic, and encourage me to keep records of for example:
  • information sources
  • citation databases
  • searches I've done and the search strings
and to tabulate my findings. I'll keep the records; they'll be evidence.

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