Guidelines for Op/on A: Systema/sed Review (15,000 words)
The disserta+on should demonstrate clear and logical structure throughout. The headings below are provided as a guide.
An academic style of wri+ng include appropriate language and grammar for Level 7 studies is expected.
Please refer to your Programme Handbook for guidance on the referencing style to be used.
What the examiner will be looking for
Summary of… …objec+ves, …search strategy, …means of analysis.
Overview of main results. Conclusion.
Does the abstract provide a succinct overview of the review?
Does it to allow readers to decide at a glance whether or not the review is of relevance to them?
• Reason for the review
• Poten+al impact of the
• Exis+ng reviews
• The review ques+on
Is the need for the review clear?
Is its place in the context of previous work clarified?
Is the focus of the review explicit?
Are objec+ves clear and achievable?
• Selec+on criteria for studies (RCTS, surveys, reviews, etc)
• Sources of material (which databases, grey literature, etc.)
• Search terms
• Inclusion/exclusion criteria
Does the report of the search strategy promote confidence that the most important relevant studies have been included?
Are the boundaries of the review clear?
Are wide sources of material used?
Are the search strategies presented in the appendix? Has a cri+cal appraisal tool been used appropriately? E.G. CASP, AMSTAR etc.
• Overview (where the literature is to be found – the type of journal, the country; the professional focus; most common methods)
• Methodological quality (studies grouped together for comparison – strengths & weaknesses, fatal errors, excep+onal efforts to overcome problems, adequacy of samples, appropriateness of data collec+on and analysis methods, assump+ons, effects on rigour)
• Summary of findings (reflec+ng your cri+cal judgement of the worth of individual findings
Is the review helpfully structured to facilitate the reader’s understanding?
Has a flow diagram of search results been used to report selec+on of evidence. e.g. PRISMA Diagram.
Are appropriate ques+ons asked of studies according to design?
Are appropriate approaches u+lised to compare studies of similar design?
Is there sufficient depth of analysis?
Are both strengths and weaknesses of studies addressed?
Is the rigour of studies adequately assessed?
Is the cri+que supported by evidence & logical argument? Is a useful, accurate summary provided?
• The degree to which evidence is conflic+ng, mutually-suppor+ve, or equivocal.
• Reflec+ons on how the findings relate to wider context (poli+cal, social, professional issues).
• Trends over +me (a comparison with previous reviews).
• Reflec+on on limita+ons of the review.
Does the discussion relate to the stated research ques+on? Does the discussion go beyond a statement of the findings to provide addi+onal insights into the material? Does the discussion consider the overall nature and quality of the available evidence? Are valid links made to the wider context as appropriate to the topic?
Are limita+ons of the review acknowledged?
Are the emergent themes synthesised into a coherent narra+ve?
• Implica+ons for prac+ce
• Implica+ons for future
Is the conclusion based on the discussion of the disserta+on findings?
Are the suggested implica+ons insigh]ul, reasonable and significant?
• Included studies
• Excluded studies
• Other literature referred to
in the text
Is referencing accurate, complete and in consistent academic style?
• Tables of included/ excluded studies
• Tables rela+ng to the review content
Do any appendices add illumina+on to the review? Are they accurate & clear?
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