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Doing a Literature Review in Health and Social Care. A Practical Guide

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Title: Doing a Literature Review in Health and Social Care. A Practical Guide.

Author: Helen Aveyard

Publisher: Open University Press

Reviewer: Carol Singleton Queen’s Nurse, North Tyneside.

What was it like?

This is the third edition of this excellent book first published in 2007 and although I have produced literature reviews for many years, I still found it helpful to be able to follow this well set out process. The chapters start with why you should do a literature review, to which literature will be relevant, how to search, how to critically appraise the literature, how to analyse your findings, how to discuss your findings and make recommendations and finally frequently asked questions.

What were the highlights?

The “Frequently asked Questions” chapter draws together all the other chapters enabling you to present your completed literature review, providing guidance to the contents you should include and detailing what each section should contain. This chapter ends with a list of eleven “top tips”, the final one been, above all, make sure you answer the research question!

Strengths & weaknesses:

There is a glossary, references and an index at the end of the book, each chapter ends with “key points” to remind you of the areas covered in the chapter you have just read, and there are useful examples highlighted in boxes. I found the list of commonly held databases helpful and while not exhaustive, it does cover the ones required by researcher in health and social care. I would have found a list of further reading or websites helpful.

Who should read it?

This book would be invaluable for anybody undertaking a dissertation or research work involving a literature review and also for “old hands” to remind them of the process required to review and appraise evidence in an efficient and understandable manner.


Doing a Literature Review in Health and Social Care

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