Your literature review needs to demonstrate your capacity to identify the most important literature relevant to your research question or topic of interest, and to critique the work of other researchers. In relation to your topic of interest, conduct a thorough literature review and present it in a length and format suitable for publication. You need to nominate, and provide a justification for, the peer reviewed journal most suitable for your literature review.
Abstract (4 marks) 200
Provide a structured abstract of your review e.g. Background, Methods, Results,
Discussion and Implications/Conclusion.
Introduction (6 marks) 350 words
In this section you will need to:
• provide a background and context to the topic, include relevant theory
• define terms, if appropriate
• justify the importance or relevance of conducting the review:
. why is this review important and to whom?
. ‘set the scene’ for your reader
• include the purpose and/or aims of the review that explains what the review
intends to accomplish, for example ‘The purpose of this review is to:
. analyse the relationship between … ’
. explore the impact of … ’
. critique the evidence for … ’
The statement about the purpose of the review needs to be included in the last
paragraph of the Introduction.
Methods (5 marks) 300 words
A rigorous, reproducible and systematic approach to retrieving relevant literature is critical for the success of this task. Your approach to this section will ‘make or break’ the literature review. You essentially need to provide sufficient information for someone else to replicate this process. In this section you will need to:
• identify the databases and the search terms and key words used for the search.
Ensure that they are MeSH compatible, or indexed to the database/s thesaurus
• identify the period during which the literature was searched, e.g. ‘literature
between January 1990 and January 2013 was searched for relevant articles’
• define the inclusion and exclusion criteria i.e. you need to provide an explanation for why you have included some studies, and rejected others
• identify the databases and key words used for the search strategy (see Table 3, Guidelines for Writing a Literature Review
Results (6 marks) 350 words
Present a summary of the study designs and findings for the articles that meet the inclusion criteria (see Table 2, Guidelines for Writing a Literature Review. For a literature review that includes quantitative studies, Table 2 should include information such as the sample size, age range of participants, the method of data collection, the findings, and any other relevant study variable. You will need to prepare a separate table for qualitative studies because the study design features will be different to that of quantitative studies. Table 2 essentially provides the reader with an overview of the results and key study features
or variables of the studies included in your literature review.
Present an overview of the PRISMA process in relation to the selection and inclusion of studies that met the inclusion criteria in the review; refer to this as Graphic 3, see Guidelines for Writing a Literature Review
You need to summarise the key issues or themes to emerge from the analysis of the literature. Present this information in about 2–3 paragraphs.
Discussion (20 marks) 3,000
In this section you will need to:
• discuss the extent of current knowledge related to the topic
• provide a critical analysis of the literature
• identify current issues, concerns, viewpoints and arguments
• comment on the strengths and weaknesses of study designs and literature findings.
Refer to the information presented in Table 2
• discuss the limitations, shortcomings and/or inconsistencies in the literature. Refer to the information presented in Table 2
• briefly discuss implications for future research.
Ensure all tables and Graphic 1 are numbered and given a title that tells the reader what information is presented in these tables/graphic. It is expected that you obtain ideally no fewer than 15 relevant primary sources of literature for inclusion in this review. Secondary sources of literature (e.g. other reviews or scholarly articles) can be used to support material in the Introduction and Discussion sections only.
The marking criteria are designed to assess your ability to evaluate the breath
and significance of the literature relevant to your topic, identify the strengths and weaknesses in study designs and findings, and to meet the standard for submission of manuscript for publication.
You need to present a research proposal designed to address the shortcomings or inconsistencies in the literature
The research proposal needs to be sufficiently detailed to allow your project to be replicated. In other words you must provide must provide a reproducible, step-by-step approach to the implementation of your proposed project.
In writing this research proposal, focus on the following points.
From your critique of the literature develop the background and rationale of your intended project. Justify the significance of this research based on the literature.
Clearly define your research question or hypothesis, and explain how this has been informed by undertaking the critique of study designs included in the literature review (Refer to Table 2). You need to explain how this research
project will address a gap in our knowledge or understanding of a topic,. Briefly define the aspects you would expect to focus on. Provide aims and objectives for your project.
Explain how this method will address your research question or why it is appropriate to your topic. Again, refer to Table 2 in order to locate this project
in the context of existing study designs. Describe the data collection method(s) to be used, what data will be collected and why, how will it be recorded, and examples of questions that will be asked. Report validity indices for validated instruments i.e. provide information on the sensitivity and specificity of the instrument/s. Describe how you will ensure rigour and reliability of your study design and findings.
Describe where the research will take place and why this setting is appropriate.
Provide details of how you will access your participants. Describe how you will
select participants and how this sampling strategy fits with your methodology and/ or research question. Describe the inclusion and exclusion criteria for selecting participants.