2. Being systematic



okay so I've talked to you about why systematic reviews a good or we think they are systematic quantitative ones the ones we use what I want to do now is as you can see from the slide is talk to you about being systematic now this is important for ever type of literature review method that you want to do this is about how to go about making sure that you can with a reasonable amount and possibly even a lot of certainty say I have read all the relevant literature and when I make my statements I can make them with the authority that I'm recording what's out there at the time on this discipline area so as you can see it's defining the topic always critically important working out your research questions working out from those research questions what keywords you're going to use to search for the actual literature then what database searches you do and how you go about doing that and then what the criteria you're going to use to include papers into the literature review particularly if you're using a meta-analysis or one of these quantitative that review method that we're talking about so with this we want to make sure you make these judgments right because if you get this right from the beginning well and you never do quite gets in the beginning if you get it right early in the process it saves so much time later on so that's why we're going to go through it in a little bit of detail with some of the captures pointing out some of the limitations and how to make it work really well so as you can see what we're going to go through is those first sets of steps in the fifteenth step process this is the first group of them the being systematic the very first thing you need to do is define your topic now this is really important for your whole thesis for the whole of what you're going to be talking about it might be very broad but the systematic quantitative lit review is going to be focusing on one particular part of that so you need to define exactly what it is you're going to look at now for some projects there are beautifully some keywords that capture most of what you're going to be doing so luckily for example one of the students did one on community gardens and nearly every paper on community gardens has the word community garden in the title so she hadn't real easily defined another student was looking at the impacts of non-motorized nature-based tourism activities on birds now birds was easy but that was a little bit more complicated so first of all you want to work out exactly what you're going to be doing is this core part of your review so defining the topic next thing is working out your research questions so with this what you need to do is work out okay so I've got this topic community dance what I want to find out about it I've got this topic finding out about impacts of tourism on birds I've got this topic wanting to find out about shark tourism how do I go what what are the questions that I'm looking for and this helps shape where you're going to go through with that material and forming your research questions as an interview process you have something in mind to begin with you work through the process and you keep revising them as you go because sometimes you find out something really different at the end best thing to do then is revise your research questions to match their fabulous results you've got so having worked through that a bit in discussion with your supervisor in your head reflecting on a bit bit of cogitating bit of going for a walk having a beer going to having a bath reflective thinking whatever works for you you start working out keywords now you need to identify the relevant literature but not lots and lots of irrelevant literature and this is part of the systematic that's challenging you don't you want to get everything that's relevant that you can but you don't want to spending the rest of your life looking through all the literature on a topic so using clearly defined keywords helps with this and it's a bit of a trial and error process you may need to think about are there synonyms and that's a really particularly important thing so sometimes the same thing is referred to by different words for the review that was done on the impacts of nature-based tourism people talk about hiking they talk about trampling they talk about walking and in Australia we talk about bush walking so just to find out about that one activity there had to be at least four words that you had to use there so think about those in terms of how many synonyms one of the things here that's really useful for using these types of searches and using keyword searches is that universities have university librarians who are there to help you and it's really useful to go at this stage if you haven't already and go introduce yourself to the university librarians and book a session to find out about doing searches on scientific and other databases academic databases because they'll give you lots of tricks lots of smart ways of doing things so have a chat to them now an example of the ones that we ended up using for there's more diffused topic community gardens was easy but for looking at the impacts of non-motorized nature based activity on birds was we had birds that worked well in combination with trail track walking hiking impact disturbance mountain biking effect dog walking horse riding ecotourism tourism and recreation so what you'll find is you'll need to search multiple times through even one database using different combinations of these to make sure that you really are picking up all of the papers that you need what databases to use well again talk to the university librarians they're very good at this the ones that we've used variously are web of science Google Scholar ScienceDirect Scopus ProQuest web of knowledge sage biomed the trick use within your discipline there are often a set of common databases that are searched but if you're using an interdisciplinary project which can sometimes happen you have to make sure you use a wide variety of databases so you really are going to pick up the full suite of topics so for example on the lot on community gardens we found that from law journals through to social science journals Natural History journals crime reduction journals so we had to make sure that we were searching very broadly in a write wide range of databases so those are most probably the critical things in terms of doing that but then there comes to be this issue about what do you actually include what papers the selection criteria so you've started to find the papers you started to find where they are but what you end up finding now is is this paper relevant or not and in this point you're going to have to develop some sort of criteria for inclusion we did one which was that it had to be a published research paper it couldn't be a review it couldn't be in the grey literature it had to be published in academic journal but you might want to think about that sort of a criteria where you want to make that line in terms of the authority of the data we also might want to also say is it principally about this topic or is it not about is it a bit far away and with this again as we say the challenge in the systematic is when do I stop how far do I go how many papers do I have to search and with this the difficulty is if you're doing a narrative review you need to identify generally the most common papers the key ones if you're doing a systematic lit review you actually have to be systematic you want to be making sure you get nearly everything so you need to make sure that you search for all the stuff that you need out there and this is one of the most common questions before wins enough enough well what we tend to find is when you're starting to keep coming across the same papers again and again and you've spent quite a long time you come up with nothing new you know that you're starting to you know it's like fishing you're starting to clap trawler fish at that point the other thing you need to think about is just being one of the ways we found that was really important to back check or forward check is you can use the reference lists of the papers to go back in time because of course earlier papers are often not in the electronic databases and it's a great way of checking if you go through the reference list and you hit reading their titles you go it got that one got that one got that one got one you know you're pretty clear and the other way you can do of course is now you can go forward looking at who has cited that paper so you can do that as a way of also double checking going forward so takes a while it's you know it's not an easy a structured way of doing it which makes it easier but it is a lot of work and there are some prices keyword selection database selection and inclusion criteria we need to make a judgments and so you need to think about making those judgments really careful

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