PubMed search

Starting Your Literature Review

Literature Review Process

For this class you will complete a literature review on the topic of your choice. The information on this page will guide you to resources and help on:

  • Frame the research question
  • Searching the journal literature
  • Citation managers (Mendeley)​

Framing the Research Question

The first part of any research is identifying the question you want to answer. This is very important because the more you understand your question the more likely you are to obtain relevant results. One way of building your search question starts with the patient and is known as PICO, which stands for:

  • P - Patient or Population or Problem/Disease

Who or what is the question about? This may include the primary problem, disease, or circumstances. 

  • I - Intervention, Exposure or Prognostic Factor

What main intervention/treatment are you considering? 

  • C - Comparison(s) (optional)

What alternative intervention are you considering, if any? For example, you might be comparing the efficacy of two medications or the accuracy of two diagnostic tests. Your clinical question does not have to always have a specific comparison.

  • O - Outcome(s)

What are you trying to accomplish or measure? What are you trying to do for the patient or problem? Examples might include managing a disease, alleviating symptoms, preventing a disease, etc.

Searching the Literature

For more information on searching PubMed for the dental literature see:

PubMed Help: for more information on searching PubMed.

Ovid Medline Help: for more information on searching Ovid Medline for dental topics. 

Organizing Your Literature

After your search the journal literature you will need to collect and organize your references. The easiest way to do this is by using a citation manager, such as Mendeley, with MS Word. 

These tools allow you to:

  • Store citation information online
  • Format in-text citations for your papers
  • Create a bibliography 

Mendeley: freely available citation manger where you can save citations and PDFs. 

Want to get started with Mendeley see these online tutorials:

NLM Citation Style

You will be using NLM Citation style for your research project. Even if you use Mendeley to organize your citations it is important to be familiar with NLM Citation Style. 

Citing Medicine, 2nd edition 

Citing Medicine, the NLM citation guide, assists authors in compiling lists of references.

Last Updated: Apr 29, 2021 4:00 PM