Literature Review Process
- Create your research question (PICO)
- Search the literature
- Select relevant articles
- Organize your articles
Framing the research question with PICO.
- P (population, problem, patient)
- I (intervention)
- C (comparison)
- O (outcome)
The PICO framework can help you identify your clinical question. In most circumstance you will only have a P, I, and O. When searching for articles start by searching for the P (population, problem, patient) and I (intervention). Then browse the article abstracts for the O (outcome). For more information on using PICO, see this guide about the Well-Built Clinical Question (PICO).
Resources for Searching
- Ovid MEDLINESearches MEDLINE, which is the primary source of journal articles for the health sciences (fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, public health, health care systems, and basic sciences). Ovid MEDLINE is optimized for advanced literature searches. Coverage is from the 1940s to the present.
Ovid Medline Help for more information check out our online guide.
- PubMedSearches MEDLINE, which is the primary source of journal articles for the health sciences (fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, public health, health care systems, and basic sciences). Coverage is from the 1940s to the present. View this tutorial to learn how to go from a general idea to a very precise set of results of journal articles and scholarly materials.
- CINAHL (Nursing & Allied Health)Covers nursing and allied health journal articles, book chapters, and dissertations, as well as providing summarized evidence-based resources such as care sheets and quick lessons.
Organizing Your References
As you search the journal literature you will want to collect and organize your references, or article citations. The easiest way to do this is by using a citation manager such as Zotero or EndNote. These tools allow you to:
- Export citations from databases and store them
- Collect and store PDFs
- Insert and format citations in MS Word
Zotero is a free citations manager that will help you collect and organize your citations, save PDFs, insert citations into MS Word or Google Docs, and help you organize your research projects.
For more information:
Citing Medicine provides assistance to authors in compiling lists of references for their publications, to editors in revising such lists, to publishers in setting reference standards for their authors and editors, and to librarians and others in formatting bibliographic citations. This is the citation style that you will need to use for this course.
- Plagiarism...and How to Avoid ItSlide deck illustrates what is and what isn't plagiarism.