thematic literature review

thematic literature review

The Impact of Thematic Literature Reviews

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1. Introduction

Though research into research may appear somewhat cyclical, with theorists designing new methodology to investigate old theory, improve former methodology, or develop new theory – research on methods and meta-theorizing through reviews of this type are crucial areas of social science inquiry which literature reviews have suggested many social scientists are currently falling short in delivering, to the detriment of substantial contributions to social science inquiry. How to assessably report contributions of this nature using literature review is a question to be addressed at a later date. But meta-inquiry research undoubtedly has the potential to pave the way for stronger interdisciplinary and multi-methodological research, through the new methodologies and theories suggested by systematic assessment of construct validity and theoretical propositions rooted in specific bodies of research.

This line of argument is in parallel with the goals of modernizing the traditional “narrative” for a literature review, which has been qualified as little more than a sequence of study summaries strung together, ignoring inter-study practices and failing to animate the reviewer’s own ideas about the body of work under evaluation [25]. While this characterization may be overly disparaging, the requirement to “improve the game” suggests that literature reviews of high standards are essential to theory development in the social science disciplines – and to this end, guidance on good practice is warranted. In systematic reviews, critical evaluation is essential to theme-identifying reviews, and concomitant methodological development is a promising tool to produce cumulative inquiry into areas of interest (Häggman et al.). The likeliest being the advocacy of extending realist research methodology into reviews of this type, to deal with the understanding of “general theory” and causal mechanisms in complex social systems.

Given the value of thematic critique to the school of thought revisit, an audit of literature reviews (LRs) of this sort ought to be of significant advantage to researchers, with the potential to advise the course of future theory-driven empirical inquiry.

2. Importance of Thematic Literature Reviews

Literature reviews can be a differentiating feature of scholarly work. It is fascinating to note that most significant pieces of scholarship were preceded by some form of review. They are used to carefully review the existing research work on a particular topic, featuring a strong analysis and data collection. There are many types and forms of literature review, but they all share the same purpose: to create a case for doing new research work with certain methods from past research, with a strong analysis of why past methods may not be felt conclusive and thus the need to move it forward with a more specific and refined study. The conclusion to this is perhaps the most important part of the review, and provides a strong analysis of what the case is for the current state of the topic at the time of writing the review, and what the results of specific studies and research papers imply for future research done on the specific topic. The thematic literature review is used to explore past research methods for identifying future research needs with different types of case methodology. It is particularly useful for testing theoretical models using the path of research.

3. Methodology for Conducting Thematic Literature Reviews

Abstract Thematic literature reviews are an increasingly popular form of review which can be used to inform policy and practice, and provide an interpretive, methodological, and theoretical framework for understanding complex phenomena. However, although interest in this method is growing, detailed guidance on how to conduct a thematic review is limited. This paper provides a detailed account of how thematic reviews can be conducted using a five-phase approach. This is illustrated using the example of a review which was undertaken to explore the experiences and perceptions of resilience in homeless individuals. Phase one includes the use of systematic techniques during the search and data extraction stage. This is particularly important for the thematic method which aims to reduce the impact of researcher bias on the findings. Systematic search techniques may involve only selecting databases which are relevant to the review question, and carrying out repeat searches to ensure that all relevant literature is captured. Data extraction, which involves coding key pieces of data onto a ‘coding frame’, should be done in a methodical way to allow for easy auditing by an external observer.

– Overview: Systematic search and data display – Usefulness of methodical search techniques – Creating coherent displays of the literature – Mapping and interpreting the literature – Assessing the need for retracing and updating the review – Example of literature review using inductive thematic analysis techniques.

4. Key Findings from Thematic Literature Reviews

All articles in some way had a focus on teacher change and the understanding or implementation of curriculum policy. All of the articles discussed policy whether it was directly or indirectly related to the policy itself. One of the most significant findings was that America’s policy climate. His analysis of the implementation of the No Child Left Behind policy by drawing on longitudinal national surveys of teachers from 1998-2005. It concludes that over this time period there were dramatic changes in the complexity of teachers’ work, loss of teacher morale, and a decline in teachers’ professional autonomy. Evident in his paper is the effect of the policy changes on teacher identity. Lasky and Stillman argue that research into curriculum policy has predominantly focused on implementation and there is a need for more research into how policies shape the conditions of teachers’ work and the role of teachers in the policy process. This is also suggested by Guilfoy and Drake in their research. They argue that there is a need for more research into understanding the differences in policy initiatives and how they can impact teacher development. Changing student and teacher behaviors are often overlooked in policy analysis and these behavioral changes are typically what reforms are trying to achieve. Peetsma and van der Veen’s paper provides valuable insights and empirical evidence into one of the most adopted policies in the last decade. The policy of standardized assessment in the Netherlands with an aim to improve the quality of education. His study focused on changes in student achievement and the circumstances in which schools develop productive learning environments. An understanding of what has changed and identifying the factors contributing to these changes can have implications on how future policies are developed as well as identifying and dealing with unintended consequences.

5. Conclusion and Recommendations

Though no literature currently exists to suggest potential negative impacts of aromatherapy on surgical patients, the long history of anecdotal evidence and wide use of essential oils indicates the necessity for safety assessments in future research. While there is no reason to suspect potential harm to surgical patients from aromatherapy, this is an important step for policy makers to consider before recommending clinical implementation of aromatherapy for anxiety management. Aromatherapy is not a regulated healthcare modality in the United States, nurse-administered use of essential oils in perioperative and postoperative settings may be in conflict with institutional policies or guidelines. Researchers may need to work closely with clinical care experts, policy makers, and risk managers in healthcare settings to address these concerns.

Future research should replicate the current study using a larger, more geographically diverse sampling of patients undergoing surgical procedures. This would allow for the compilation of sufficient data to completely assess the impact of aromatherapy in reducing patients’ state anxiety levels preoperatively. This may lead to significant findings and give health care professionals the necessary evidence to support the implementation of aromatherapy as an effective, inexpensive, low-risk nursing intervention for the management of preoperative anxiety. A larger sample would also afford the possibility to control for additional variables, such as various patient characteristics, personality traits, or coping styles, which could influence the effectiveness of aromatherapy in reducing anxiety. Assessment of such variables in this study’s sample was not possible, as statistical power is lost when conducting multiple regression analyses on a small sample (Tabachnick and Fidell 2001).

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