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  • © 2020

How to Perform a Systematic Literature Review

A Guide for Healthcare Researchers, Practitioners and Students

  • Edward Purssell   ORCID: 0 ,
  • Niall McCrae   ORCID: 1

School of Health Sciences, City, University of London, London, UK

You can also search for this author in PubMed   Google Scholar

Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing Midwifery & Palliative Care, King’s College London, London, UK

Presents a logical approach to systematic literature reviewing

offers a corrective to flawed guidance in existing books

An accessible but intellectually stimulating guide with illuminating examples and analogies

59k Accesses

19 Citations

9 Altmetric

  • Table of contents

About this book

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Table of contents (11 chapters)

Front matter, introduction.

  • Edward Purssell, Niall McCrae

A Brief History of the Systematic Review

The aim and scope of a systematic review: a logical approach, searching the literature, screening search results: a 1-2-3 approach, critical appraisal: assessing the quality of studies, reviewing quantitative studies: meta-analysis and narrative approaches, reviewing qualitative studies and metasynthesis, reviewing qualitative and quantitative studies and mixed-method reviews, meaning and implications: the discussion, making an impact: dissemination of results, back matter.

The systematic review is a rigorous method of collating and synthesizing evidence from multiple studies, producing a whole greater than the sum of parts. This textbook is an authoritative and accessible guide to an activity that is often found overwhelming. The authors steer readers on a logical, sequential path through the process, taking account of the different needs of researchers, students and practitioners. Practical guidance is provided on the fundamentals of systematic reviewing and also on advanced techniques such as meta-analysis. Examples are given in each chapter, with a succinct glossary to support the text.  

This up-to-date, accessible textbook will satisfy the needs of students, practitioners and educators in the sphere of healthcare, and contribute to improving the quality of evidence-based practice. The authors will advise some freely available or inexpensive open source/access resources (such as PubMed, R and Zotero) to help students how to perform a systemic review, in particular those with limited resources.

  • Methodology
  • Evidence-based practice

Edward Purssell

Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing Midwifery & Palliative Care, King’s College London, London, UK

Niall McCrae

Dr. Niall McCrae teaches mental health nursing and research methods at the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care at King’s College London. His research interests are dementia, depression, the impact of social media on younger people, and the history of mental health care. Niall has written two previous books: The Moon and Madness (Imprint Academic, 2011) and The Story of Nursing in British Mental Hospitals: Echoes from the Corridors (Routledge, 2016). He is a regular writer for Salisbury Review magazine. 

In partnership Purssell and McCrae have written several papers on research methodology and literature reviewing for healthcare journals. Both have extensive experience of teaching literature reviewing at all academic levels, and explaining complex concepts in a way that is accessible to all

Book Title : How to Perform a Systematic Literature Review

Book Subtitle : A Guide for Healthcare Researchers, Practitioners and Students

Authors : Edward Purssell, Niall McCrae


Publisher : Springer Cham

eBook Packages : Medicine , Medicine (R0)

Copyright Information : The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Softcover ISBN : 978-3-030-49671-5 Published: 05 August 2020

eBook ISBN : 978-3-030-49672-2 Published: 04 August 2020

Edition Number : 1

Number of Pages : VII, 188

Number of Illustrations : 7 b/w illustrations, 12 illustrations in colour

Topics : Nursing Research , Nursing Education , Research Skills

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  1. PDF CHAPTER 3 Conducting a Literature Review

    CHAPTER3 Learning Objectives After finishing this chapter, you should be able to: 3.1 Summarize what a literature review is, what it tells the reader, and why it is necessary. 3.2Evaluate the nine basic steps taken to write a well-constructed literature review. 3.3 Conduct an electronic search using terms, phrases, Boolean operators, and filters.

  2. PDF Conducting Your Literature Review

    4 TYPES OF LITERATURE REVIEWS Literature reviews come in different types and formats. All literature reviews are secondary literature because they summarize existing research evidence, that is, primary research. But reviews can serve different func- tions and use literature very differently.

  3. Conducting Your Literature Review

    Book details. This book is a step-by-step guide to writing a literature review, and includes tips for modifying the process as needed depending on your audience, purpose, and goals. The lessons in this book can be applied to writing the background section for a thesis or an original research publication. Literature reviews are now much more ...


    2. MOTIVATE YOUR RESEARCH in addition to providing useful information about your topic, your literature review must tell a story about how your project relates to existing literature. popular literature review narratives include: ¡ plugging a gap / filling a hole within an incomplete literature ¡ building a bridge between two "siloed" literatures, putting literatures "in conversation"

  5. PDF Sample Chapter: Writing the Literature Review: A Practical Guide

    CHAPTER 1 This is a chapter excerpt from Guilford Publications. Writing the Literature Review: A Practical Guide. Sara Efrat Efron and Ruth Ravid. Copyright © 2019. Purchase this book now: CHAPTER 1 What Is a Literature Review? S ue is a doctoral student in social sciences.

  6. (PDF) Writing a Literature Review Research Paper: A step-by-step approach

    Muhammad Ali Ramdhani UIN Sunan Gunung Djati Bandung Abdusy Syakur Amin Universitas Pasundan Abstract and Figures Writing a literature review in the pre or post-qualification, will be required...

  7. How to Perform a Systematic Literature Review

    Edward Purssell, Niall McCrae Presents a logical approach to systematic literature reviewing offers a corrective to flawed guidance in existing books An accessible but intellectually stimulating guide with illuminating examples and analogies 59k Accesses 19 Citations 9 Altmetric Sections Table of contents About this book Keywords

  8. PDF What is a Literature Review?

    Introduction The process of undertaking a literature review is an integral part of doing research. While this may be considered to be its primary function, the literature review is also an important tool that serves to inform and develop practice and invite dis- cussion in academic work.

  9. PDF How to Write a Literature Review

    Parts of a Research Paper • Abstract • Introduction • Literature Review • Methodology • Findings/Results • Discussion • Conclusion How to Write a Literature Review, Summer 2019. 2 of 7 Three Types of Literature Review Organization

  10. PDF Literature Review and Focusing the Research

    No matter what the reason for the literature review or the paradigm within which the researcher is working, many aspects of the literature review process are the same. A general outline for conducting a literature review is provided in Box 3.1. Some of the differences in the process that emanate from paradigm choice include the following: 1.

  11. Literature Reviews: Books, Tutorials & Examples

    Undertaking a Literature Review: A step-by-step approach. Writing for College.ORG Writing narrative literature reviews for peer-reviewed journals: Secrets of the trade.

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    The Writing Center Literature Reviews Like 66 people like this. What this handout is about This handout will explain what a literature review is and offer insights into the form and construction of a literature review in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. Introduction OK. You've got to write a literature review.

  13. PDF A Literature Review

    A literature review is a compilation, classification, and evaluation of what othe r researchers have written on a particular topic. A literature review normally forms part of a research thesis but it can also stand alone as a self-contained review of writings on a subject. In either case, its purpose is to:

  14. The Literature Review : A Step-by-Step Guide for Students

    This second edition of Diana Ridley′s bestselling book provides a step-by-step guide to conducting a literature search and literature review, using cases and examples throughout to demonstrate best practice. Ridley outlines practical strategies for conducting a systematic search of the available literature, reading and note taking and writing up your literature review as part of an ...

  15. (PDF) The Literature Review

    (PDF) The Literature Review Authors: Norin Arshed University of Dundee Mike Danson Heriot-Watt University Abstract and Figures Being able to establish what is known about a subject area, and by...

  16. Writing a literature review

    A formal literature review is an evidence-based, in-depth analysis of a subject. There are many reasons for writing one and these will influence the length and style of your review, but in essence a literature review is a critical appraisal of the current collective knowledge on a subject.

  17. (Pdf) Literature Review, Sources and Methodologies

    Philippa Ojimelukwe Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike Abstract This presentation tries to address the following questions: how best shold i conduct a literature search in my area?...

  18. PDF Writing Literature Reviews A literature review may consist of simply a

    A literature review surveys books, scholarly articles, and any other sources relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theory, and by so doing, provides a description, summary, and critical evaluation of these works in relation to the research problem being investigated.


    The background and philosophy of a literature review and an introduction to the Matrix Method are described in the following sections in this chapter: • Review of the Literature • Well Beyond Index Cards • To Own the Literature • Research Synthesis: Historical Perspective • Guidelines for Designing and Reporting Better Studies • Guidelines...

  20. PDF What is a Literature Review? (and How Do I Write One?!)

    a Literature Review • First and foremost: - "Filter" your set of sources: Review abstracts, introductions, conclusions - Determine the scope of your literature review: What 12 you will cover and what you will not cover • Prioritize among your sources: - "Classics" and other studies you identify as more

  21. PDF Literature Reviews What is a literature review? summary synthesis

    literature review is a description, summary, and critical evaluation of scholarly works on a certain topic. A literature review combines both summary (a recap of important information) and synthesis (a reorganization of that information which reflects your approach to a research problem).


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  23. (PDF) Literature Review as a Research Methodology: An overview and

    PDF | On Apr 2, 2021, Chnar Mustafa Moahmmed and others published Literature Review as a Research Methodology: An overview and guidelines | Find, read and cite all the research you need on ...