4 Easy Steps to the Literature Review

September 22, 2011

Your turn for literature review?

You have known for months that next week it is your turn to lead literature review. You keep telling yourself you should get to work, but something always gets in the way. So, you go to Google, or PubMed, and you throw some terms in the search box – implants, endodontics, ….you get hundreds of results. Frustrated, you procrastinate by checking Facebook…..

Does this sound like you?  We can help!

Following these four steps will save you time, give you direction, and help you conduct an effective review of the literature. Your colleagues will be impressed and your faculty will beam with pride!

Step 1. Select a topic.

Prior to searching, its a good idea to know what you are searching for. For a quick overview of the hottest topics in dentistry, try:

  • MDLinx Dentistry– this site offers a list of the most popular recent articles in dentistry.  You can also narrow your topic by specialty.
  • The American Dental Association’s Evidence Based Dentistry portal.  A comprehensive list of systematic reviews in all areas of dentistry.
  • Scanning the tables-of-contents of dentistry journals.

Step 2.  Search the dental literature.

Once you have selected your topic, you need to conduct a comprehensive search of the literature. We recommend using PubMed, because it contains citations for articles from thousands of dental and medical journals. Your librarian can help you develop a search strategy that will yield the best results, in the least amount of time.

Step 3.  Review your search results.

Once you have a good search in place, take some time to review the titles and abstracts of your results.  Using the clipboard feature in PubMed, select the citations for articles you might consider including in your review.

Step 4.  Retrieve the full text of your selected articles.

Always search PubMed via the PubMed link on the Bibby library website.  That way you can connect to the full article by clicking on the “Find Text @UR” icon (This works for post-1990 articles from journals that the library subscribes to).  You can also contact your library staff for help getting articles.


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