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DHYG 2201: Literature Reviews: Supporting Evidence-Based Practice in Dental Hygiene

Sources and strategies for locating evidence-based information for dental hygiene

What is a Literature Review?

What is a Literature Review?

The literature review provides your audience with relevant information about your topic, as well as your synthesis and evaluation of the article. It is not just a summary of the article. It is not possible to provide all of the information on a topic with three or five articles. As you locate articles, determine those that are the most relevant and that give you the most information.

Choose a minimum of three articles. Before you begin, locate other literature reviews in your discipline, such as this article (*requires the barcode from your Lone Star College ID or library card for off-campus access).

There are several steps in writing a literature review:

  1. Choose a research area. For this assignment, you may choose any current topic in dental hygiene. 
  2. Identify sources of information. This literature review will be limited to peer-reviewed research articles from journals only. Articles must have been published during the last five years. A list of search tools are provided under the Find Research tab.  
  3. Record citation information for your report and bibliography as you research. See citation help tab for more information.
  4. Locate, read and evaluate potential articles. Take notes on your articles, and identify patterns as well as agreements or disagreements among the authors. The guides listed below contain excellent questions to consider as you read and evaluate each article.
  5. Write your review, including your own synthesis and evaluation of the articles you selected. Provide a citation and a summary for each article.

The following links are excellent guides on writing literature reviews:

  • The Literature Review: A Few Tips on Conducting It (University of Toronto Writing Center) - Good, brief list of questions to ask in order to conduct an effective review.
  • Literature Reviews - Tips on research strategy and organization of a literature review from the Writing Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • Writing a Literature Review - An easy-to-read overview of how to develop your literature review; from Agnes Scott College Center for Writing and Speaking.

Literature Reviews and Evidence-Based Practice

Levels of evidenceLiterature reviews are important sources of information in evidence-based practice. The example article provided is also an example of a specific type of literature review - the systematic review. Systematic reviews are valuable in evidence-based practice because they:

  • are designed with a clear set of stated objectives
  • are comprehensive for a well-defined area of study 
  • evaluate and synthesize the quality and findings of the studies included. 

Most search tools provide a search filter to make it easy to locate systematic reviews on your topic. This is a useful filter that can provide you with high quality information very quickly. To learn more about how systematic reviews are developed, see "How to conduct a systematic or evidence-based literature review ."

You are not required to conduct a systematic review for this assignment; however, you might want to consider including a systematic review as part of your literature review, if you can find one that fits the criteria and search requirements of your assignment.

Locating literature reviews, in general, and systematic reviews, in particular, is both a time-saver and a method of finding critical evaluations of research.

Image credit: Claude Moore Health Sciences Library. (2003). Evidence Based Resource Models. Retrieved  February 13, 2019 from [Slide 26].

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