systematic literature review example

systematic literature review example

Importance of Systematic Literature Reviews

1. Introduction

The delivery of health care is now international. The protocols of modern medicine are globally applied and understood through the traditional scientific health literature. This form of literature is an accurate reflection of the evidence and practice in medicine, and as such has a profound influence on decision-making in health. The publication of research in the health care field is now an industry, and the volume of literature available is increasing exponentially. It is not possible for an individual to keep up to date with all research that is relevant to their practice, and indeed in some cases it may be that certain research is not widely available or the literature is so vast that research can be missed. Nevertheless, the principles of evidence-based practice in health care dictate that an individual has a duty to keep their knowledge and practice up to date and ensure that the care delivered is in line with the best possible practice. This realization is especially pertinent to the medical profession, and indeed the pursuit of this ideal is the primary motivation for clinicians’ involvement in research.

2. Benefits of Conducting a Systematic Literature Review

In today’s world of information overload, it is very hard to identify what information is important and worth noting. Therefore, literature reviews can have the benefit of developing the research question for a new study and making comparisons with other studies more easily. By doing so, it helps the author decide the best approach for the new study. This is done by identifying what populations, interventions, comparisons, or outcomes have or have not been previously researched on and what they are. This can be seen as a replacement for looking through many articles and saving what might be important to folders or favorites. Finally, it can be difficult to keep bias out of reviews and studies, and it is often that biased studies have more interesting results. By comparing the questions and outcomes of a new study to previous studies, SLR can also help prevent biased research. This, in turn, helps the development of transparent articles in which readers can accurately understand and interpret what has been done.

Systematic is in the name for a reason, because one of its primary benefits over a traditional or narrative review is that it follows a detailed and well-planned method in order to duplicate the study later on, providing evidence of how a specific study was carried out or a conclusion was reached. This is important because research is often time and money consuming, and studies are uniquely carried out, so it is often hard to find a study similar to one which is desired to carry out now. This contrasts with a traditional review, which often lacks reporting details of how it was conducted and just summarizes articles. Evidence suggests that medical research which summarizes research is clinically less useful than research that explains how it was conducted and all results, positive or negative, fail or success.

In order to keep the body healthy and free from disease, we take our heavy nutritious food and medicines. So in the same way, our mind can’t live and grow without books and deep study. A systematic literature review is the best way to accomplish that. It helps you develop a deep understanding of the subject and leads to a good foundation for conducting further research. By turning minds, systematic literature review can give us clarity about the research problem, help spot weaknesses in previous work and provide pointers on how to choose variables and run research designs. In short, literature review helps set a solid foundation for advancing scientific knowledge.

3. Steps to Conduct a Systematic Literature Review

An ideal SLR should be a carefully planned project that follows a set of well-structured advance protocols. Here we define a sequence of ‘5-Step SLR Method’, a step-by-step explanation to conduct a systematic review that should greatly assist reviewers in performing a reliable review. These five stages are: 1. Formulating the problem. 2. Searching and finding the literature. 3. Evaluation of the quality of found literature. 4. Summarization of the literature. 5. Analysis and interpretation of the results. The roles of the SLR team should be identified to lead each of the stages for better efficiency and the expected results for each stage should be predefined. This SLR method was partially adopted from the evidence-based software engineering (EBSE) guidelines by Kitchenham. The EBSE guidelines were originally meant for software engineering research, but it has a wider scope of being useful to anyone who intends to make a decision based on evidence.

4. Common Challenges in Systematic Literature Reviews

When trying to conduct a systematic review of literature, multiple challenges may emerge. First of all, setting up the intended scope of a review can be difficult due to the variety of literature available. This can result in an incomplete search and a review which does not accurately represent available evidence. This issue is exacerbated by language restrictions if reviewers are unable to search literature published in languages where they are not fluent. This can be a significant source of publication bias leading to inaccurate conclusions. The depth of the review can also be compromised by an inability to access all the literature such as unpublished studies and commercial data. This type of information can be costly and difficult to obtain, and reviewers may not have the necessary resources to include it within their review. Poor reporting and a lack of necessary detail in primary research can make it difficult to extract data necessary for the review process. This can then result in a great deal of effort trying to contact authors to retrieve missing information with no guarantee of success. All these problems can lead to reviewers being forced to make subjective decisions and conclusions due to a lack of evidence, which is something they are trying to avoid by taking a systematic approach in the first place.

5. Conclusion

Systematic literature reviews have transparent methods which minimize bias by conducting a comprehensive search of the literature and have detailed inclusion and exclusion criteria which are formulated a priori. These methods minimize the risk of introducing bias into the literature and increase the reliability and generalizability of the review findings. Systematic reviews are also becoming more common in the health sciences as the need for evidence-based information grows. Health care practitioners, policymakers, and consumers often use evidence to guide health care decisions. Systematic reviews are an efficient and reliable source of information, which often has implications for the health care of consumers and the formulation of health policy. The Cochrane Collaboration is an international organization that advocates evidence-informed health decision making and conducts, supports, and disseminates systematic reviews of health care interventions. It produces and maintains the Cochrane Library, a respected source of reliable evidence relevant to decision making in health care. The importance of systematic reviews is also recognized by organizations such as the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD), and a number of healthcare journals are encouraging the use of systematic review when submitting papers. With the increasing recognition of the importance of evidence-based practice, it is likely that the awareness of systematic reviews and the demand for them will continue to grow.

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