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HST 2800: Research Methods

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What is a literature revew?
As part of a larger work, the literature review section of an article places the author's work within the context of other studies. 

As a type of article, a review article summarizes research in a particular field of field of study.  A helpful guide to writing review articles is available at:
Defining your topic
Before you begin searching, try to develop a question that your research will answer.  As an example, if your chosen topic is childhood obesity, your question might be "What do studies show about school-based childhood obesity programs?" or "What does the literature say about exercise and childhood obesity?" Once you have some background information on your topic, you will find more specific questions. For example, are school-based obesity prevention programs with an internet compenent more effective than those without?

It will be easier to narrow your search if you define a specific patient population. As an example, if you are working on sucide prevention, possible populations would be "adolescents enrolled in school" or "elderly commuity residents."
Peer Reviewed Articles

Peer reviewed articles are written by experts in the field and reviewed by other experts.  Articles that pass peer review and are published should have sound research design.  Peer Reviewed articles in the health sciences will generally be divided into sections.  Generally, these sections will be:

  • Abstract - summarizes the paper
  • Introduction - Gives background to the question addressed in the paper
  • Methods - Describes how the study was conducted
  • Results - Presents the data produced by the study
  • Discussion - Interprets the data
  • Conclusion - Wraps p the paper, may present recommendations for further work or application of findings
  • References - Works cited or used in preparing the paper
Finding articles
Peer-reviewed articles on health topics are available through several databases at Booth Library.  

Health Source Nursing Academic
Covers all areas of medicine and health. Offers a limit for peer-reviewed articles. Designed for students.

Covers all areas of medicine, nursing, biochemistry, genetics, veterinary science, and more.  Offers a limit for review articles.  Designed for doctors and researchers.

CINAHL Plus with Full Text
Covers nursing, public health, community health, health education, and other allied health fields.  Offers a limit for peer reviewed articles and academic journals.  Designed for nurses and other allied health professionals.
Finding Peer Reviewed Articles
Health Source Nursing/Academic Edition

Go to this database - link will open a new window or tab

This database is designed for students and offers a limit for peer reviewed articles.

Clinical Queries- PubMed
PubMed Clinical Queries

Go to PubMed Clinical Queries - link will open a new window or tab

The Clinical Queries utility simplifies identifying articles related to therapy for a particular contition. Enter your terms and click "Search."
clinical queries - enter terms

Search results will display articles related to "therapy," which can include any number of intervention stategies, in the left column.  You can narrow the results in teh dropdown. The middle column is "systematic reviews." These are carefully prepared summaries of the current research on the topic.


Other databases
If your study population includes school-aged children, consider searching


If your topic involves mental health or behavior change, consider searching

Subject Specialist
Picture: Stacey Knight-Davis

Stacey Knight-Davis
Health and Nursing Librarian
Office: 217 581-7549

Reference Desk: 217-581-6072
Email the Reference Desk