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Medical Family Therapy: Literature Review

Useful Books

Basics of a Literature Review

A literature review, which is sometimes called a systematic review, may be conducted in order to inform practice and/or policy, serve as a basic element in a thesis or dissertation or as part of a proposal to obtain funding. The process can be divided into a series of steps:

  • Choose a topic. Look at recent literature for ideas and do a bit of preliminary searching of the existing literature.

  • Clarify your review question and the scope of your review

  • Brainstorm search terms to use and think about your search strategy

  • Begin searching for articles. I strongly recommend you keep a search log to document which databases you searched and what search terms you used.

  • Capture and manage search results. You may want to export results to Endnote (see Endnote tab in this guide)

  • Screen results for inclusion based on critera you define

  • Evaluate the  the articles. A worksheet which includes the bibliographic information about the article and summarizes elements of the article such as research design, interventions, findings, main variables etc. may give you a helpful overview

  • Synthesize results (this is the whole point!).

Examples of Literature Reviews

Use the Dissertations and Theses Full Text database to see example literature review chapters.

You can find dissertations by SLU graduates by searching a subset of Dissertations and Theses Full Text called Dissertations @ SLU.  Select  Department from the dropdown menu and enter  Counseling and Family Therapy for dissertations accepted prior to Fall 2014. This is the former name for  Medical Family Therapy.