- Selection of studies to be used in a review article: a comparative study of three review articles on clinicians' information needs and information seeking behavior.
- No.32, p.1-16
One of the typical ways of condensing and cumulating the recorded knowledge and synthesing the information is writing a review article of a targetted subject. The first step to write a review sujested by the experts in review writing is defining the subject field, specifying the purpose, and the methods used to identify, select, and validate relevant studies.
The purpose of this paper is to find out how much of these requirements were followed by reviewers on ‘clinician’ information needs and information seeking behavior'.
Three review articles on this subject were selected, from the literature found by searches used MEDLINE, LISA, SSCI, and SCI. They were those written by J. M. Blythe (1992), D. E. Forsythe, et al. (1992), and R. S. Taylor (1991). Then, following six items were checked with these reviews. They were, 1) specifying of purpose, and methods used to identify, select and validate studies to be included, 2) the range of years the included studies published, 3) types of studies used, 4) appropriateness of the titles used, arrengement of their content, and the studies used in each part of subdivisions of their contents, 5) the number of same studies used in these reviews, 6) the number of ‘well-known studie’ (markers) in the field being used in each review.
The results were as follows. 1) Only the purpose but none of the methods were specified. 2) Three reviews showed different range of published years of studies included. 3) The types of studies used by each review were also different. Blythe used only journal articles, Forsythe, et al. used also books and papers presented at meetings, but the number of them were less than that of journal articles. Taylor used a doctorial thesis beside these three types, but more than half of the studies included were books. 4) Each of three reviews had emphasis of a different sub-theme that refrected on the studies used. 5) Three same studies were used with all reviews and 2 others were used only in Blythe and Forsythe et al. 6) Out of 9 markers, 2 were used in Blythe's review, 1 with Forsythe et al's, and 3 in Taylor's.
Even though the general theme of these three reviews are identical, emphasis on different sub-theme in each review created the divergence in studies used in them.
But the detailed examination revealed another reason that caused this divergence. That is authors' fail in following the steps proposed by the experts of review writing. Apparently, even for writing of ‘mini revie’ to show a background of some subject, it is preferable to follow the proposed steps, so that a cummulation of knowledge of that subject is always correctly presented.