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Literature Review Basics

Resources and guidance for synthesizing and presenting research in general literature reviews, systematic reviews, etc.

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Laura Bernhardt
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Study Designs and Methods

The key to figuring out the appropriate level of evidence for a given study is to examine its methods and assess its design. Below, we've linked to selections from a useful series of articles by Ranganathan and Aggarwal detailing different study design types (their methods, the forms of evidence they produce, etc.). Use these articles to help you understand the specialized language of study design.

You may also find the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine's (CEBM) brief study design article helpful.

Writing Help

Tutoring and Writing Assistance at USI

Your first stop for help with your writing here at USI should be the Tutoring programs in the Academic Skills department. You can schedule an appointment with a tutor or send your work to the Online Writing Lab for feedback from a writing consultant.

Your Liaison Librarian can also help you get started on the literature review process, as well as offering some assistance for correctly formatting your work and including correct citations.


Helpful Links

Formulating PICOT Questions

PICOT format table

Levels of Evidence

The figure below is an adaptation of the levels of evidence as presented by Melnyk and Fineout-Overholt (2015, p.11). According to the authors, these levels should be viewed hierarchically in terms of  objective reliability and generalizability; with Level I representing the most generalizable and objective evidence, and Level VII representing the least generalizable evidence with a greater risk of bias (p.92).





Levels of Evidence Flowchart (U. of Michigan Libraries)

                A flowchart illustrating levels oif evidence

Sources Cited

Levels of Evidence and PICOT charts adapted from:

‚ÄčMelnyk, B. Mazurek, & Fineout-Overholt, E. (2015). Evidence-based practice in nursing and healthcare: a guide to best practice. Third edition. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health

Levels of Evidence Flowchart courtesy of the University of Michigan libraries (2018), made available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0  license (CC BY 4.0).