Performing a literature review
A necessary skill for any doctor
- By: Gulraj S Matharu, Christopher D Buckley
What causes disease, which drug is best, does this patient need surgery, and what is the prognosis? Although experience helps in answering these questions, ultimately they are best answered by evidence based medicine. But how do you assess the evidence? As a medical student, and throughout your career as a doctor, critical appraisal of published literature is an important skill to develop and refine. At medical school you will repeatedly appraise published literature and write literature reviews. These activities are commonly part of a special study module, research project for an intercalated degree, or another type of essay based assignment.
Literature reviews are most commonly performed to help answer a particular question. While you are at medical school, there will usually be some choice regarding the area you are going to review.
Once you have identified a subject area for review, the next step is to formulate a specific research