It is generally a good idea to use a critical appraisal tool that is specific to the research design of your given paper.This might mean that you need to use a few different critical appraisal tools if your literature review question requires you to access a wide range of literature. Using the critical appraisal tool, consider the strengths and limitations of the literature you have identified and consider how much impact each paper has in addressing your research question.
These will enable you to work out how to search for literature on your topic. Think laterally about this and don’t forget to use words that are less common or have become outdated.
This is because relevant articles might have been indexed using these words and you will miss them if you do not include them in your list of key words.
You can then see at a glance which other papers identify similar (or different) themes.
As you do this, you will begin to see patterns emerging in the literature and will be able to form an answer to your question. It is quite permissible to say ‘there is some evidence that…’ rather than to provide a definitive answer. Finally remember to put your literature review on your CV and be prepared to discuss at interview.
Think carefully about the type of literature that is likely to be most useful to you.
Once you know what you are looking for, you can start to think about how to search for it! Most academic libraries offer drop in sessions for dissertation students.Take advantage of the Boolean operators (AND/OR/NOT) which allow you to narrow or broaden a search.It is always a good idea to supplement electronic searching with additional searching strategies, for example hand searching relevant journals or reference lists.This is because some key articles might be missed through electronic searching due to the way the paper is indexed.Look at the abstracts of the articles you come across.Work out what literature you need to answer your question.Not everything relating to your question will be relevant and some information will be more relevant than others… Most questions need to be answered using primary research.Discuss this topic with everyone who will listen to you!This way you will mull over and refine your question until you feel you have a useful question that you can answer.In general terms, if your question involves measuring or evaluating care or an intervention then you will probably need to use quantitative research.If your question is more explorative, then qualitative research is likely to be most relevant. Remember that identifying which literature you need is one of the most important aspects of doing your literature review and it is useful to discuss in detail your approach with your supervisor.