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Why is it important to do a literature review in research?

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 “A substantive, thorough, sophisticated literature review is a precondition for doing substantive, thorough, sophisticated research”. Boote and Baile 2005

Authors of manuscripts treat writing a literature review as a routine work or a mere formality. But a seasoned one knows the purpose and importance of a well-written literature review.  Since it is one of the basic needs for researches at any level, they have to be done vigilantly. Only then the reader will know that the basics of research have not been neglected.

Importance of Literature Review In Research

The aim of any literature review is to summarize and synthesize the arguments and ideas of existing knowledge in a particular field without adding any new contributions.   Being built on existing knowledge they help the researcher to even turn the wheels of the topic of research.  It is possible only with profound knowledge of what is wrong in the existing findings in detail to overpower them.  For other researches, the literature review gives the direction to be headed for its success. 

The common perception of literature review and reality:

As per the common belief, literature reviews are only a summary of the sources related to the research. And many authors of scientific manuscripts believe that they are only surveys of what are the researches are done on the chosen topic.  But on the contrary, it uses published information from pertinent and relevant sources like

  • Scholarly books
  • Scientific papers
  • Latest studies in the field
  • Established school of thoughts
  • Relevant articles from renowned scientific journals

and many more for a field of study or theory or a particular problem to do the following:

  • Summarize into a brief account of all information
  • Synthesize the information by restructuring and reorganizing
  • Critical evaluation of a concept or a school of thought or ideas
  • Familiarize the authors to the extent of knowledge in the particular field
  • Encapsulate
  • Compare & contrast

By doing the above on the relevant information, it provides the reader of the scientific manuscript with the following for a better understanding of it:

  • It establishes the authors’  in-depth understanding and knowledge of their field subject
  • It gives the background of the research
  • Portrays the scientific manuscript plan of examining the research result
  • Illuminates on how the knowledge has changed within the field
  • Highlights what has already been done in a particular field
  • Information of the generally accepted facts, emerging and current state of the topic of research
  • Identifies the research gap that is still unexplored or under-researched fields
  • Demonstrates how the research fits within a larger field of study
  • Provides an overview of the sources explored during the research of a particular topic

Importance of literature review in research:

The importance of literature review in scientific manuscripts can be condensed into an analytical feature to enable the multifold reach of its significance.  It adds value to the legitimacy of the research in many ways:

  • Provides the interpretation of existing literature in light of updated developments in the field to help in establishing the consistency in knowledge and relevancy of existing materials
  • It helps in calculating the impact of the latest information in the field by mapping their progress of knowledge.
  • It brings out the dialects of contradictions between various thoughts within the field to establish facts
  • The research gaps scrutinized initially are further explored to establish the latest facts of theories to add value to the field
  • Indicates the current research place in the schema of a particular field
  • Provides information for relevancy and coherency to check the research
  • Apart from elucidating the continuance of knowledge, it also points out areas that require further investigation and thus aid as a starting point of any future research
  • Justifies the research and sets up the research question
  • Sets up a theoretical framework comprising the concepts and theories of the research upon which its success can be judged
  • Helps to adopt a more appropriate methodology for the research by examining the strengths and weaknesses of existing research in the same field
  • Increases the significance of the results by comparing it with the existing literature
  • Provides a point of reference by writing the findings in the scientific manuscript
  • Helps to get the due credit from the audience for having done the fact-finding and fact-checking mission in the scientific manuscripts
  • The more the reference of relevant sources of it could increase more of its trustworthiness with the readers
  • Helps to prevent plagiarism by tailoring and uniquely tweaking the scientific manuscript not to repeat other’s original idea
  • By preventing plagiarism , it saves the scientific manuscript from rejection and thus also saves a lot of time and money
  • Helps to evaluate, condense and synthesize gist in the author’s own words to sharpen the research focus
  • Helps to compare and contrast to  show the originality and uniqueness of the research than that of the existing other researches
  • Rationalizes the need for conducting the particular research in a specified field
  • Helps to collect data accurately for allowing any new methodology of research than the existing ones
  • Enables the readers of the manuscript to answer the following questions of its readers for its better chances for publication
  • What do the researchers know?
  • What do they not know?
  • Is the scientific manuscript reliable and trustworthy?
  • What are the knowledge gaps of the researcher?

22. It helps the readers to identify the following for further reading of the scientific manuscript:

  • What has been already established, discredited and accepted in the particular field of research
  • Areas of controversy and conflicts among different schools of thought
  • Unsolved problems and issues in the connected field of research
  • The emerging trends and approaches
  • How the research extends, builds upon and leaves behind from the previous research

A profound literature review with many relevant sources of reference will enhance the chances of the scientific manuscript publication in renowned and reputed scientific journals .

References:

http://www.math.montana.edu/jobo/phdprep/documents/phd6.pdf

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Conducting a literature review: why do a literature review, why do a literature review.

  • How To Find "The Literature"
  • Found it -- Now What?

Besides the obvious reason for students -- because it is assigned! -- a literature review helps you explore the research that has come before you, to see how your research question has (or has not) already been addressed.

You identify:

  • core research in the field
  • experts in the subject area
  • methodology you may want to use (or avoid)
  • gaps in knowledge -- or where your research would fit in

It Also Helps You:

  • Publish and share your findings
  • Justify requests for grants and other funding
  • Identify best practices to inform practice
  • Set wider context for a program evaluation
  • Compile information to support community organizing

Great brief overview, from NCSU

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What is a Literature Review?

A literature or narrative review is a comprehensive review and analysis of the published literature on a specific topic or research question. The literature that is reviewed contains: books, articles, academic articles, conference proceedings, association papers, and dissertations. It contains the most pertinent studies and points to important past and current research and practices. It provides background and context, and shows how your research will contribute to the field. 

A literature review should: 

  • Provide a comprehensive and updated review of the literature;
  • Explain why this review has taken place;
  • Articulate a position or hypothesis;
  • Acknowledge and account for conflicting and corroborating points of view

From  S age Research Methods

Purpose of a Literature Review

A literature review can be written as an introduction to a study to:

  • Demonstrate how a study fills a gap in research
  • Compare a study with other research that's been done

Or it can be a separate work (a research article on its own) which:

  • Organizes or describes a topic
  • Describes variables within a particular issue/problem

Limitations of a Literature Review

Some of the limitations of a literature review are:

  • It's a snapshot in time. Unlike other reviews, this one has beginning, a middle and an end. There may be future developments that could make your work less relevant.
  • It may be too focused. Some niche studies may miss the bigger picture.
  • It can be difficult to be comprehensive. There is no way to make sure all the literature on a topic was considered.
  • It is easy to be biased if you stick to top tier journals. There may be other places where people are publishing exemplary research. Look to open access publications and conferences to reflect a more inclusive collection. Also, make sure to include opposing views (and not just supporting evidence).

Source: Grant, Maria J., and Andrew Booth. “A Typology of Reviews: An Analysis of 14 Review Types and Associated Methodologies.” Health Information & Libraries Journal, vol. 26, no. 2, June 2009, pp. 91–108. Wiley Online Library, doi:10.1111/j.1471-1842.2009.00848.x.

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For help in other subject areas, please see the guide to library specialists by subject .

Periodically, UT Libraries runs a workshop covering the basics and library support for literature reviews. While we try to offer these once per academic year, we find providing the recording to be helpful to community members who have missed the session. Following is the most recent recording of the workshop, Conducting a Literature Review. To view the recording, a UT login is required.

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What is a literature review?

A literature review is an integrated analysis -- not just a summary-- of scholarly writings and other relevant evidence related directly to your research question.  That is, it represents a synthesis of the evidence that provides background information on your topic and shows a association between the evidence and your research question.

A literature review may be a stand alone work or the introduction to a larger research paper, depending on the assignment.  Rely heavily on the guidelines your instructor has given you.

Why is it important?

A literature review is important because it:

  • Explains the background of research on a topic.
  • Demonstrates why a topic is significant to a subject area.
  • Discovers relationships between research studies/ideas.
  • Identifies major themes, concepts, and researchers on a topic.
  • Identifies critical gaps and points of disagreement.
  • Discusses further research questions that logically come out of the previous studies.

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1. Choose a topic. Define your research question.

Your literature review should be guided by your central research question.  The literature represents background and research developments related to a specific research question, interpreted and analyzed by you in a synthesized way.

  • Make sure your research question is not too broad or too narrow.  Is it manageable?
  • Begin writing down terms that are related to your question. These will be useful for searches later.
  • If you have the opportunity, discuss your topic with your professor and your class mates.

2. Decide on the scope of your review

How many studies do you need to look at? How comprehensive should it be? How many years should it cover? 

  • This may depend on your assignment.  How many sources does the assignment require?

3. Select the databases you will use to conduct your searches.

Make a list of the databases you will search. 

Where to find databases:

  • use the tabs on this guide
  • Find other databases in the Nursing Information Resources web page
  • More on the Medical Library web page
  • ... and more on the Yale University Library web page

4. Conduct your searches to find the evidence. Keep track of your searches.

  • Use the key words in your question, as well as synonyms for those words, as terms in your search. Use the database tutorials for help.
  • Save the searches in the databases. This saves time when you want to redo, or modify, the searches. It is also helpful to use as a guide is the searches are not finding any useful results.
  • Review the abstracts of research studies carefully. This will save you time.
  • Use the bibliographies and references of research studies you find to locate others.
  • Check with your professor, or a subject expert in the field, if you are missing any key works in the field.
  • Ask your librarian for help at any time.
  • Use a citation manager, such as EndNote as the repository for your citations. See the EndNote tutorials for help.

Review the literature

Some questions to help you analyze the research:

  • What was the research question of the study you are reviewing? What were the authors trying to discover?
  • Was the research funded by a source that could influence the findings?
  • What were the research methodologies? Analyze its literature review, the samples and variables used, the results, and the conclusions.
  • Does the research seem to be complete? Could it have been conducted more soundly? What further questions does it raise?
  • If there are conflicting studies, why do you think that is?
  • How are the authors viewed in the field? Has this study been cited? If so, how has it been analyzed?

Tips: 

  • Review the abstracts carefully.  
  • Keep careful notes so that you may track your thought processes during the research process.
  • Create a matrix of the studies for easy analysis, and synthesis, across all of the studies.
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Conducting a Literature Review

Benefits of conducting a literature review.

  • Steps in Conducting a Literature Review
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  • Literature Review Tutorial by American University Library
  • The Literature Review: A Few Tips On Conducting It by University of Toronto
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While there might be many reasons for conducting a literature review, following are four key outcomes of doing the review.

Assessment of the current state of research on a topic . This is probably the most obvious value of the literature review. Once a researcher has determined an area to work with for a research project, a search of relevant information sources will help determine what is already known about the topic and how extensively the topic has already been researched.

Identification of the experts on a particular topic . One of the additional benefits derived from doing the literature review is that it will quickly reveal which researchers have written the most on a particular topic and are, therefore, probably the experts on the topic. Someone who has written twenty articles on a topic or on related topics is more than likely more knowledgeable than someone who has written a single article. This same writer will likely turn up as a reference in most of the other articles written on the same topic. From the number of articles written by the author and the number of times the writer has been cited by other authors, a researcher will be able to assume that the particular author is an expert in the area and, thus, a key resource for consultation in the current research to be undertaken.

Identification of key questions about a topic that need further research . In many cases a researcher may discover new angles that need further exploration by reviewing what has already been written on a topic. For example, research may suggest that listening to music while studying might lead to better retention of ideas, but the research might not have assessed whether a particular style of music is more beneficial than another. A researcher who is interested in pursuing this topic would then do well to follow up existing studies with a new study, based on previous research, that tries to identify which styles of music are most beneficial to retention.

Determination of methodologies used in past studies of the same or similar topics.  It is often useful to review the types of studies that previous researchers have launched as a means of determining what approaches might be of most benefit in further developing a topic. By the same token, a review of previously conducted studies might lend itself to researchers determining a new angle for approaching research.

Upon completion of the literature review, a researcher should have a solid foundation of knowledge in the area and a good feel for the direction any new research should take. Should any additional questions arise during the course of the research, the researcher will know which experts to consult in order to quickly clear up those questions.

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  • Literature Review: The What, Why and How-to Guide
  • Introduction

Literature Review: The What, Why and How-to Guide — Introduction

  • Getting Started
  • How to Pick a Topic
  • Strategies to Find Sources
  • Evaluating Sources & Lit. Reviews
  • Tips for Writing Literature Reviews
  • Writing Literature Review: Useful Sites
  • Citation Resources
  • Other Academic Writings

What are Literature Reviews?

So, what is a literature review? "A literature review is an account of what has been published on a topic by accredited scholars and researchers. In writing the literature review, your purpose is to convey to your reader what knowledge and ideas have been established on a topic, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. As a piece of writing, the literature review must be defined by a guiding concept (e.g., your research objective, the problem or issue you are discussing, or your argumentative thesis). It is not just a descriptive list of the material available, or a set of summaries." Taylor, D.  The literature review: A few tips on conducting it . University of Toronto Health Sciences Writing Centre.

Goals of Literature Reviews

What are the goals of creating a Literature Review?  A literature could be written to accomplish different aims:

  • To develop a theory or evaluate an existing theory
  • To summarize the historical or existing state of a research topic
  • Identify a problem in a field of research 

Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1997). Writing narrative literature reviews .  Review of General Psychology , 1 (3), 311-320.

What kinds of sources require a Literature Review?

  • A research paper assigned in a course
  • A thesis or dissertation
  • A grant proposal
  • An article intended for publication in a journal

All these instances require you to collect what has been written about your research topic so that you can demonstrate how your own research sheds new light on the topic.

Types of Literature Reviews

What kinds of literature reviews are written?

Narrative review: The purpose of this type of review is to describe the current state of the research on a specific topic/research and to offer a critical analysis of the literature reviewed. Studies are grouped by research/theoretical categories, and themes and trends, strengths and weakness, and gaps are identified. The review ends with a conclusion section which summarizes the findings regarding the state of the research of the specific study, the gaps identify and if applicable, explains how the author's research will address gaps identify in the review and expand the knowledge on the topic reviewed.

  • Example : Predictors and Outcomes of U.S. Quality Maternity Leave: A Review and Conceptual Framework:  10.1177/08948453211037398  

Systematic review : "The authors of a systematic review use a specific procedure to search the research literature, select the studies to include in their review, and critically evaluate the studies they find." (p. 139). Nelson, L. K. (2013). Research in Communication Sciences and Disorders . Plural Publishing.

  • Example : The effect of leave policies on increasing fertility: a systematic review:  10.1057/s41599-022-01270-w

Meta-analysis : "Meta-analysis is a method of reviewing research findings in a quantitative fashion by transforming the data from individual studies into what is called an effect size and then pooling and analyzing this information. The basic goal in meta-analysis is to explain why different outcomes have occurred in different studies." (p. 197). Roberts, M. C., & Ilardi, S. S. (2003). Handbook of Research Methods in Clinical Psychology . Blackwell Publishing.

  • Example : Employment Instability and Fertility in Europe: A Meta-Analysis:  10.1215/00703370-9164737

Meta-synthesis : "Qualitative meta-synthesis is a type of qualitative study that uses as data the findings from other qualitative studies linked by the same or related topic." (p.312). Zimmer, L. (2006). Qualitative meta-synthesis: A question of dialoguing with texts .  Journal of Advanced Nursing , 53 (3), 311-318.

  • Example : Women’s perspectives on career successes and barriers: A qualitative meta-synthesis:  10.1177/05390184221113735

Literature Reviews in the Health Sciences

  • UConn Health subject guide on systematic reviews Explanation of the different review types used in health sciences literature as well as tools to help you find the right review type
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Systematically Reviewing the Literature: Building the Evidence for Health Care Quality

There are important research and non-research reasons to systematically review the literature. This article describes a step-by-step process to systematically review the literature along with links to key resources. An example of a graduate program using systematic literature reviews to link research and quality improvement practices is also provided.

Introduction

Systematic reviews that summarize the available information on a topic are an important part of evidence-based health care. There are both research and non-research reasons for undertaking a literature review. It is important to systematically review the literature when one would like to justify the need for a study, to update personal knowledge and practice, to evaluate current practices, to develop and update guidelines for practice, and to develop work related policies. 1 A systematic review draws upon the best health services research principles and methods to address: What is the state of the evidence on the selected topic? The systematic process enables others to reproduce the methods and to make a rational determination of whether to accept the results of the review. An abundance of articles on systematic reviews exist focusing on different aspects of systematic reviews. 2 – 9 The purpose of this article is to describe a step by step process of systematically reviewing the health care literature and provide links to key resources.

Systematic Review Process: Six Key Steps

Six key steps to systematically review the literature are outlined in Table 1 and discussed here.

Systematic Review Steps

1. Formulate the Question and Refine the Topic

When preparing a topic to conduct a systematic review, it is important to ask at the outset, “What exactly am I looking for?” Hopefully it seems like an obvious step, but explicitly writing a one or two sentence statement of the topic before you begin to search is often overlooked. It is important for several reasons; in particular because, although we usually think we know what we are searching for, in truth our mental image of a topic is often quite fuzzy. The act of writing something concise and intelligible to a reader, even if you are the only one who will read it, clarifies your thoughts and can inspire you to ask key questions. In addition, in subsequent steps of the review process, when you begin to develop a strategy for searching the literature, your topic statement is the ready raw material from which you can extract the key concepts and terminology for your strategies. The medical and related health literature is massive, so the more precise and specific your understanding of your information need, the better your results will be when you search.

2. Search, Retrieve, and Select Relevant Articles

The retrieval tools chosen to search the literature should be determined by the purpose of the search. Questions to ask include: For what and by whom will the information be used? A topical expert or a novice? Am I looking for a simple fact? A comprehensive overview on the topic? Exploration of a new topic? A systematic review? For the purpose of a systematic review of journal research in the area of health care, PubMed or Medline is the most appropriate retrieval tool to start with, however other databases may be useful ( Table 2 ). In particular, Google Scholar allows one to search the same set of articles as PubMed/MEDLINE, in addition to some from other disciplines, but it lacks a number of key advanced search features that a skilled searcher can exploit in PubMed/MEDLINE.

Examples of Electronic Bibliographic Databases Specific to Health Care

Note: These databases may be available through university or hospital library systems.

An effective way to search the literature is to break the topic into different “building blocks.” The building blocks approach is the most systematic and works the best in periodical databases such as PubMed/MEDLINE. The “blocks” in a “building blocks” strategy consist of the key concepts in the search topic. For example, let’s say we are interested in researching about mobile phone-based interventions for monitoring of patient status or disease management. We could break the topic into the following concepts or blocks: 1. Mobile phones, 2. patient monitoring, and 3. Disease management. Gather synonyms and related terms to represent each concept and match to available subject headings in databases that offer them. Organize the resulting concepts into individual queries. Run the queries and examine your results to find relevant items and suggest query modifications to improve your results. Revise and re-run your strategy based on your observations. Repeat this process until you are satisfied or further modifications produce no improvements. For example in Medline, these terms would be used in this search and combined as follows: cellular phone AND (ambulatory monitoring OR disease management), where each of the key word phrases is an official subject heading in the MEDLINE vocabulary. Keep detailed notes on the literature search, as it will need to be reported in the methods section of the systematic review paper. Careful noting of search strategies also allows you to revisit a topic in the future and confidently replicate the same results, with the addition of those subsequently published on your topic.

3. Assess Quality

There is no consensus on the best way to assess study quality. Many quality assessment tools include issues such as: appropriateness of study design to the research objective, risk of bias, generalizability, statistical issues, quality of the intervention, and quality of reporting. Reporting guidelines for most literature types are available at the EQUATOR Network website ( http://www.equator-network.org/ ). These guidelines are a useful starting point; however they should not be used for assessing study quality.

4. Extract Data and Information

Extract information from each eligible article into a standardized format to permit the findings to be summarized. This will involve building one or more tables. When making tables each row should represent an article and each column a variable. Not all of the information that is extracted into the tables will end up in the paper. All of the information that is extracted from the eligible articles will help you obtain an overview of the topic, however you will want to reserve the use of tables in the literature review paper for the more complex information. All tables should be introduced and discussed in the narrative of the literature review. An example of an evidence summary table is presented in Table 3 .

Example of an evidence summary table

Notes: BP = blood pressure, HbA1c = Hemoglobin A1c, Hypo = hypoglycemic, I = Internet, NS = not significant, PDA = personal digital assistant, QOL = quality of life, SMBG = self-monitored blood glucose, SMS = short message service, V = voice

5. Analyze and Synthesize Data and information

The findings from individual studies are analyzed and synthesized so that the overall effectiveness of the intervention can be determined. It should also be observed at this time if the effect of an intervention is comparable in different studies, participants, and settings.

6. Write the Systematic Review

The PRISMA 12 and ENTREQ 13 checklists can be useful resources when writing a systematic review. These uniform reporting tools focus on how to write coherent and comprehensive reviews that facilitate readers and reviewers in evaluating the relative strengths and weaknesses. A systematic literature review has the same structure as an original research article:

TITLE : The systematic review title should indicate the content. The title should reflect the research question, however it should be a statement and not a question. The research question and the title should have similar key words.

STRUCTURED ABSTRACT: The structured abstract recaps the background, methods, results and conclusion in usually 250 words or less.

INTRODUCTION: The introduction summarizes the topic or problem and specifies the practical significance for the systematic review. The first paragraph or two of the paper should capture the attention of the reader. It might be dramatic, statistical, or descriptive, but above all, it should be interesting and very relevant to the research question. The topic or problem is linked with earlier research through previous attempts to solve the problem. Gaps in the literature regarding research and practice should also be noted. The final sentence of the introduction should clearly state the purpose of the systematic review.

METHODS: The methods provide a specification of the study protocol with enough information so that others can reproduce the results. It is important to include information on the:

  • Eligibility criteria for studies: Who are the patients or subjects? What are the study characteristics, interventions, and outcomes? Were there language restrictions?
  • Literature search: What databases were searched? Which key search terms were used? Which years were searched?
  • Study selection: What was the study selection method? Was the title screened first, followed by the abstract, and finally the full text of the article?
  • Data extraction: What data and information will be extracted from the articles?
  • Data analysis: What are the statistical methods for handling any quantitative data?

RESULTS: The results should also be well-organized. One way to approach the results is to include information on the:

  • Search results: What are the numbers of articles identified, excluded, and ultimately eligible?
  • Study characteristics: What are the type and number of subjects? What are the methodological features of the studies?
  • Study quality score: What is the overall quality of included studies? Does the quality of the included studies affect the outcome of the results?
  • Results of the study: What are the overall results and outcomes? Could the literature be divided into themes or categories?

DISCUSSION: The discussion begins with a nonnumeric summary of the results. Next, gaps in the literature as well as limitations of the included articles are discussed with respect to the impact that they have on the reliability of the results. The final paragraph provides conclusions as well as implications for future research and current practice. For example, questions for future research on this topic are revealed, as well as whether or not practice should change as a result of the review.

REFERENCES: A complete bibliographical list of all journal articles, reports, books, and other media referred to in the systematic review should be included at the end of the paper. Referencing software can facilitate the compilation of citations and is useful in terms of ensuring the reference list is accurate and complete.

The following resources may be helpful when writing a systematic review:

CEBM: Centre for Evidence-based Medicine. Dedicated to the practice, teaching and dissemination of high quality evidence based medicine to improve health care Available at: http://www.cebm.net/ .

CITING MEDICINE: The National Library of Medicine Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers. This resource provides guidance in compiling, revising, formatting, and setting reference standards. Available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK7265/ .

EQUATOR NETWORK: Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research. The EQUATOR Network promotes the transparent and accurate reporting of research studies. Available at: http://www.equator-network.org/ .

ICMJE RECOMMENDATIONS: International Committee of Medical Journal Editors Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals. The ICJME recommendations are followed by a large number of journals. Available at: http://www.icmje.org/about-icmje/faqs/icmje-recommendations/ .

PRISMA STATEMENT: Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. Authors can utilize the PRISMA Statement checklist to improve the reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Available at: http://prisma-statement.org .

THE COCHRANE COLLABORATION: A reliable source for making evidence generated through research useful for informing decisions about health. Available at: http://www.cochrane.org/ .

Examples of Systematic Reviews To Link Research and Quality Improvement

Over the past 17 years more than 300 learners, including physicians, nurses, and health administrators have completed a course as part of a Master of Health Administration or a Master of Science in Health Informatics degree at the University of Missouri. An objective of the course is to educate health informatics and health administration professionals about how to utilize a systematic, scientific, and evidence-based approach to literature searching, appraisal, and synthesis. Learners in the course conduct a systematic review of the literature on a health care topic of their choosing that could suggest quality improvement in their organization. Students select topics that make sense in terms of their core educational competencies and are related to their work. The categories of topics include public health, leadership, information management, health information technology, electronic medical records, telehealth, patient/clinician safety, treatment/screening evaluation cost/finance, human resources, planning and marketing, supply chain, education/training, policies and regulations, access, and satisfaction. Some learners have published their systematic literature reviews 14 – 15 . Qualitative comments from the students indicate that the course is well received and the skills learned in the course are applicable to a variety of health care settings.

Undertaking a literature review includes identification of a topic of interest, searching and retrieving the appropriate literature, assessing quality, extracting data and information, analyzing and synthesizing the findings, and writing a report. A structured step-by-step approach facilitates the development of a complete and informed literature review.

Suzanne Austin Boren, PhD, MHA, (above) is Associate Professor and Director of Academic Programs, and David Moxley, MLIS, is Clinical Instructor and Associate Director of Executive Programs. Both are in the Department of Health Management and Informatics at the University of Missouri School of Medicine.

Contact: ude.iruossim.htlaeh@snerob

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  • How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates

How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates

Published on January 2, 2023 by Shona McCombes . Revised on September 11, 2023.

What is a literature review? A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources on a specific topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research that you can later apply to your paper, thesis, or dissertation topic .

There are five key steps to writing a literature review:

  • Search for relevant literature
  • Evaluate sources
  • Identify themes, debates, and gaps
  • Outline the structure
  • Write your literature review

A good literature review doesn’t just summarize sources—it analyzes, synthesizes , and critically evaluates to give a clear picture of the state of knowledge on the subject.

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Table of contents

What is the purpose of a literature review, examples of literature reviews, step 1 – search for relevant literature, step 2 – evaluate and select sources, step 3 – identify themes, debates, and gaps, step 4 – outline your literature review’s structure, step 5 – write your literature review, free lecture slides, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions, introduction.

  • Quick Run-through
  • Step 1 & 2

When you write a thesis , dissertation , or research paper , you will likely have to conduct a literature review to situate your research within existing knowledge. The literature review gives you a chance to:

  • Demonstrate your familiarity with the topic and its scholarly context
  • Develop a theoretical framework and methodology for your research
  • Position your work in relation to other researchers and theorists
  • Show how your research addresses a gap or contributes to a debate
  • Evaluate the current state of research and demonstrate your knowledge of the scholarly debates around your topic.

Writing literature reviews is a particularly important skill if you want to apply for graduate school or pursue a career in research. We’ve written a step-by-step guide that you can follow below.

Literature review guide

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Writing literature reviews can be quite challenging! A good starting point could be to look at some examples, depending on what kind of literature review you’d like to write.

  • Example literature review #1: “Why Do People Migrate? A Review of the Theoretical Literature” ( Theoretical literature review about the development of economic migration theory from the 1950s to today.)
  • Example literature review #2: “Literature review as a research methodology: An overview and guidelines” ( Methodological literature review about interdisciplinary knowledge acquisition and production.)
  • Example literature review #3: “The Use of Technology in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Thematic literature review about the effects of technology on language acquisition.)
  • Example literature review #4: “Learners’ Listening Comprehension Difficulties in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Chronological literature review about how the concept of listening skills has changed over time.)

You can also check out our templates with literature review examples and sample outlines at the links below.

Download Word doc Download Google doc

Before you begin searching for literature, you need a clearly defined topic .

If you are writing the literature review section of a dissertation or research paper, you will search for literature related to your research problem and questions .

Make a list of keywords

Start by creating a list of keywords related to your research question. Include each of the key concepts or variables you’re interested in, and list any synonyms and related terms. You can add to this list as you discover new keywords in the process of your literature search.

  • Social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok
  • Body image, self-perception, self-esteem, mental health
  • Generation Z, teenagers, adolescents, youth

Search for relevant sources

Use your keywords to begin searching for sources. Some useful databases to search for journals and articles include:

  • Your university’s library catalogue
  • Google Scholar
  • Project Muse (humanities and social sciences)
  • Medline (life sciences and biomedicine)
  • EconLit (economics)
  • Inspec (physics, engineering and computer science)

You can also use boolean operators to help narrow down your search.

Make sure to read the abstract to find out whether an article is relevant to your question. When you find a useful book or article, you can check the bibliography to find other relevant sources.

You likely won’t be able to read absolutely everything that has been written on your topic, so it will be necessary to evaluate which sources are most relevant to your research question.

For each publication, ask yourself:

  • What question or problem is the author addressing?
  • What are the key concepts and how are they defined?
  • What are the key theories, models, and methods?
  • Does the research use established frameworks or take an innovative approach?
  • What are the results and conclusions of the study?
  • How does the publication relate to other literature in the field? Does it confirm, add to, or challenge established knowledge?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the research?

Make sure the sources you use are credible , and make sure you read any landmark studies and major theories in your field of research.

You can use our template to summarize and evaluate sources you’re thinking about using. Click on either button below to download.

Take notes and cite your sources

As you read, you should also begin the writing process. Take notes that you can later incorporate into the text of your literature review.

It is important to keep track of your sources with citations to avoid plagiarism . It can be helpful to make an annotated bibliography , where you compile full citation information and write a paragraph of summary and analysis for each source. This helps you remember what you read and saves time later in the process.

To begin organizing your literature review’s argument and structure, be sure you understand the connections and relationships between the sources you’ve read. Based on your reading and notes, you can look for:

  • Trends and patterns (in theory, method or results): do certain approaches become more or less popular over time?
  • Themes: what questions or concepts recur across the literature?
  • Debates, conflicts and contradictions: where do sources disagree?
  • Pivotal publications: are there any influential theories or studies that changed the direction of the field?
  • Gaps: what is missing from the literature? Are there weaknesses that need to be addressed?

This step will help you work out the structure of your literature review and (if applicable) show how your own research will contribute to existing knowledge.

  • Most research has focused on young women.
  • There is an increasing interest in the visual aspects of social media.
  • But there is still a lack of robust research on highly visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat—this is a gap that you could address in your own research.

There are various approaches to organizing the body of a literature review. Depending on the length of your literature review, you can combine several of these strategies (for example, your overall structure might be thematic, but each theme is discussed chronologically).

Chronological

The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time. However, if you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order.

Try to analyze patterns, turning points and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred.

If you have found some recurring central themes, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic.

For example, if you are reviewing literature about inequalities in migrant health outcomes, key themes might include healthcare policy, language barriers, cultural attitudes, legal status, and economic access.

Methodological

If you draw your sources from different disciplines or fields that use a variety of research methods , you might want to compare the results and conclusions that emerge from different approaches. For example:

  • Look at what results have emerged in qualitative versus quantitative research
  • Discuss how the topic has been approached by empirical versus theoretical scholarship
  • Divide the literature into sociological, historical, and cultural sources

Theoretical

A literature review is often the foundation for a theoretical framework . You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts.

You might argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach, or combine various theoretical concepts to create a framework for your research.

Like any other academic text , your literature review should have an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion . What you include in each depends on the objective of your literature review.

The introduction should clearly establish the focus and purpose of the literature review.

Depending on the length of your literature review, you might want to divide the body into subsections. You can use a subheading for each theme, time period, or methodological approach.

As you write, you can follow these tips:

  • Summarize and synthesize: give an overview of the main points of each source and combine them into a coherent whole
  • Analyze and interpret: don’t just paraphrase other researchers — add your own interpretations where possible, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole
  • Critically evaluate: mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
  • Write in well-structured paragraphs: use transition words and topic sentences to draw connections, comparisons and contrasts

In the conclusion, you should summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance.

When you’ve finished writing and revising your literature review, don’t forget to proofread thoroughly before submitting. Not a language expert? Check out Scribbr’s professional proofreading services !

This article has been adapted into lecture slides that you can use to teach your students about writing a literature review.

Scribbr slides are free to use, customize, and distribute for educational purposes.

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If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility

 Statistics

  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources (such as books, journal articles, and theses) related to a specific topic or research question .

It is often written as part of a thesis, dissertation , or research paper , in order to situate your work in relation to existing knowledge.

There are several reasons to conduct a literature review at the beginning of a research project:

  • To familiarize yourself with the current state of knowledge on your topic
  • To ensure that you’re not just repeating what others have already done
  • To identify gaps in knowledge and unresolved problems that your research can address
  • To develop your theoretical framework and methodology
  • To provide an overview of the key findings and debates on the topic

Writing the literature review shows your reader how your work relates to existing research and what new insights it will contribute.

The literature review usually comes near the beginning of your thesis or dissertation . After the introduction , it grounds your research in a scholarly field and leads directly to your theoretical framework or methodology .

A literature review is a survey of credible sources on a topic, often used in dissertations , theses, and research papers . Literature reviews give an overview of knowledge on a subject, helping you identify relevant theories and methods, as well as gaps in existing research. Literature reviews are set up similarly to other  academic texts , with an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion .

An  annotated bibliography is a list of  source references that has a short description (called an annotation ) for each of the sources. It is often assigned as part of the research process for a  paper .  

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Research Methods

  • Getting Started
  • Literature Review Research
  • Research Design
  • Research Design By Discipline
  • SAGE Research Methods
  • Teaching with SAGE Research Methods

Literature Review

  • What is a Literature Review?
  • What is NOT a Literature Review?
  • Purposes of a Literature Review
  • Types of Literature Reviews
  • Literature Reviews vs. Systematic Reviews
  • Systematic vs. Meta-Analysis

Literature Review  is a comprehensive survey of the works published in a particular field of study or line of research, usually over a specific period of time, in the form of an in-depth, critical bibliographic essay or annotated list in which attention is drawn to the most significant works.

Also, we can define a literature review as the collected body of scholarly works related to a topic:

  • Summarizes and analyzes previous research relevant to a topic
  • Includes scholarly books and articles published in academic journals
  • Can be an specific scholarly paper or a section in a research paper

The objective of a Literature Review is to find previous published scholarly works relevant to an specific topic

  • Help gather ideas or information
  • Keep up to date in current trends and findings
  • Help develop new questions

A literature review is important because it:

  • Explains the background of research on a topic.
  • Demonstrates why a topic is significant to a subject area.
  • Helps focus your own research questions or problems
  • Discovers relationships between research studies/ideas.
  • Suggests unexplored ideas or populations
  • Identifies major themes, concepts, and researchers on a topic.
  • Tests assumptions; may help counter preconceived ideas and remove unconscious bias.
  • Identifies critical gaps, points of disagreement, or potentially flawed methodology or theoretical approaches.
  • Indicates potential directions for future research.

All content in this section is from Literature Review Research from Old Dominion University 

Keep in mind the following, a literature review is NOT:

Not an essay 

Not an annotated bibliography  in which you summarize each article that you have reviewed.  A literature review goes beyond basic summarizing to focus on the critical analysis of the reviewed works and their relationship to your research question.

Not a research paper   where you select resources to support one side of an issue versus another.  A lit review should explain and consider all sides of an argument in order to avoid bias, and areas of agreement and disagreement should be highlighted.

A literature review serves several purposes. For example, it

  • provides thorough knowledge of previous studies; introduces seminal works.
  • helps focus one’s own research topic.
  • identifies a conceptual framework for one’s own research questions or problems; indicates potential directions for future research.
  • suggests previously unused or underused methodologies, designs, quantitative and qualitative strategies.
  • identifies gaps in previous studies; identifies flawed methodologies and/or theoretical approaches; avoids replication of mistakes.
  • helps the researcher avoid repetition of earlier research.
  • suggests unexplored populations.
  • determines whether past studies agree or disagree; identifies controversy in the literature.
  • tests assumptions; may help counter preconceived ideas and remove unconscious bias.

As Kennedy (2007) notes*, it is important to think of knowledge in a given field as consisting of three layers. First, there are the primary studies that researchers conduct and publish. Second are the reviews of those studies that summarize and offer new interpretations built from and often extending beyond the original studies. Third, there are the perceptions, conclusions, opinion, and interpretations that are shared informally that become part of the lore of field. In composing a literature review, it is important to note that it is often this third layer of knowledge that is cited as "true" even though it often has only a loose relationship to the primary studies and secondary literature reviews.

Given this, while literature reviews are designed to provide an overview and synthesis of pertinent sources you have explored, there are several approaches to how they can be done, depending upon the type of analysis underpinning your study. Listed below are definitions of types of literature reviews:

Argumentative Review      This form examines literature selectively in order to support or refute an argument, deeply imbedded assumption, or philosophical problem already established in the literature. The purpose is to develop a body of literature that establishes a contrarian viewpoint. Given the value-laden nature of some social science research [e.g., educational reform; immigration control], argumentative approaches to analyzing the literature can be a legitimate and important form of discourse. However, note that they can also introduce problems of bias when they are used to to make summary claims of the sort found in systematic reviews.

Integrative Review      Considered a form of research that reviews, critiques, and synthesizes representative literature on a topic in an integrated way such that new frameworks and perspectives on the topic are generated. The body of literature includes all studies that address related or identical hypotheses. A well-done integrative review meets the same standards as primary research in regard to clarity, rigor, and replication.

Historical Review      Few things rest in isolation from historical precedent. Historical reviews are focused on examining research throughout a period of time, often starting with the first time an issue, concept, theory, phenomena emerged in the literature, then tracing its evolution within the scholarship of a discipline. The purpose is to place research in a historical context to show familiarity with state-of-the-art developments and to identify the likely directions for future research.

Methodological Review      A review does not always focus on what someone said [content], but how they said it [method of analysis]. This approach provides a framework of understanding at different levels (i.e. those of theory, substantive fields, research approaches and data collection and analysis techniques), enables researchers to draw on a wide variety of knowledge ranging from the conceptual level to practical documents for use in fieldwork in the areas of ontological and epistemological consideration, quantitative and qualitative integration, sampling, interviewing, data collection and data analysis, and helps highlight many ethical issues which we should be aware of and consider as we go through our study.

Systematic Review      This form consists of an overview of existing evidence pertinent to a clearly formulated research question, which uses pre-specified and standardized methods to identify and critically appraise relevant research, and to collect, report, and analyse data from the studies that are included in the review. Typically it focuses on a very specific empirical question, often posed in a cause-and-effect form, such as "To what extent does A contribute to B?"

Theoretical Review      The purpose of this form is to concretely examine the corpus of theory that has accumulated in regard to an issue, concept, theory, phenomena. The theoretical literature review help establish what theories already exist, the relationships between them, to what degree the existing theories have been investigated, and to develop new hypotheses to be tested. Often this form is used to help establish a lack of appropriate theories or reveal that current theories are inadequate for explaining new or emerging research problems. The unit of analysis can focus on a theoretical concept or a whole theory or framework.

* Kennedy, Mary M. "Defining a Literature."  Educational Researcher  36 (April 2007): 139-147.

All content in this section is from The Literature Review created by Dr. Robert Larabee USC

Robinson, P. and Lowe, J. (2015),  Literature reviews vs systematic reviews.  Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 39: 103-103. doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12393

importance of review of literature in research study

What's in the name? The difference between a Systematic Review and a Literature Review, and why it matters . By Lynn Kysh from University of Southern California

importance of review of literature in research study

Systematic review or meta-analysis?

A  systematic review  answers a defined research question by collecting and summarizing all empirical evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria.

A  meta-analysis  is the use of statistical methods to summarize the results of these studies.

Systematic reviews, just like other research articles, can be of varying quality. They are a significant piece of work (the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination at York estimates that a team will take 9-24 months), and to be useful to other researchers and practitioners they should have:

  • clearly stated objectives with pre-defined eligibility criteria for studies
  • explicit, reproducible methodology
  • a systematic search that attempts to identify all studies
  • assessment of the validity of the findings of the included studies (e.g. risk of bias)
  • systematic presentation, and synthesis, of the characteristics and findings of the included studies

Not all systematic reviews contain meta-analysis. 

Meta-analysis is the use of statistical methods to summarize the results of independent studies. By combining information from all relevant studies, meta-analysis can provide more precise estimates of the effects of health care than those derived from the individual studies included within a review.  More information on meta-analyses can be found in  Cochrane Handbook, Chapter 9 .

A meta-analysis goes beyond critique and integration and conducts secondary statistical analysis on the outcomes of similar studies.  It is a systematic review that uses quantitative methods to synthesize and summarize the results.

An advantage of a meta-analysis is the ability to be completely objective in evaluating research findings.  Not all topics, however, have sufficient research evidence to allow a meta-analysis to be conducted.  In that case, an integrative review is an appropriate strategy. 

Some of the content in this section is from Systematic reviews and meta-analyses: step by step guide created by Kate McAllister.

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Literature Review in Research Writing

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Research on research? If you find this idea rather peculiar, know that nowadays, with the huge amount of information produced daily all around the world, it is becoming more and more difficult to keep up to date with all of it. In addition to the sheer amount of research, there is also its origin. We are witnessing the economic and intellectual emergence of countries like China, Brazil, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates, for example, that are producing scholarly literature in their own languages. So, apart from the effort of gathering information, there must also be translators prepared to unify all of it in a single language to be the object of the literature survey. At Elsevier, our team of translators is ready to support researchers by delivering high-quality scientific translations , in several languages, to serve their research – no matter the topic.

What is a literature review?

A literature review is a study – or, more accurately, a survey – involving scholarly material, with the aim to discuss published information about a specific topic or research question. Therefore, to write a literature review, it is compulsory that you are a real expert in the object of study. The results and findings will be published and made available to the public, namely scientists working in the same area of research.

How to Write a Literature Review

First of all, don’t forget that writing a literature review is a great responsibility. It’s a document that is expected to be highly reliable, especially concerning its sources and findings. You have to feel intellectually comfortable in the area of study and highly proficient in the target language; misconceptions and errors do not have a place in a document as important as a literature review. In fact, you might want to consider text editing services, like those offered at Elsevier, to make sure your literature is following the highest standards of text quality. You want to make sure your literature review is memorable by its novelty and quality rather than language errors.

Writing a literature review requires expertise but also organization. We cannot teach you about your topic of research, but we can provide a few steps to guide you through conducting a literature review:

  • Choose your topic or research question: It should not be too comprehensive or too limited. You have to complete your task within a feasible time frame.
  • Set the scope: Define boundaries concerning the number of sources, time frame to be covered, geographical area, etc.
  • Decide which databases you will use for your searches: In order to search the best viable sources for your literature review, use highly regarded, comprehensive databases to get a big picture of the literature related to your topic.
  • Search, search, and search: Now you’ll start to investigate the research on your topic. It’s critical that you keep track of all the sources. Start by looking at research abstracts in detail to see if their respective studies relate to or are useful for your own work. Next, search for bibliographies and references that can help you broaden your list of resources. Choose the most relevant literature and remember to keep notes of their bibliographic references to be used later on.
  • Review all the literature, appraising carefully it’s content: After reading the study’s abstract, pay attention to the rest of the content of the articles you deem the “most relevant.” Identify methodologies, the most important questions they address, if they are well-designed and executed, and if they are cited enough, etc.

If it’s the first time you’ve published a literature review, note that it is important to follow a special structure. Just like in a thesis, for example, it is expected that you have an introduction – giving the general idea of the central topic and organizational pattern – a body – which contains the actual discussion of the sources – and finally the conclusion or recommendations – where you bring forward whatever you have drawn from the reviewed literature. The conclusion may even suggest there are no agreeable findings and that the discussion should be continued.

Why are literature reviews important?

Literature reviews constantly feed new research, that constantly feeds literature reviews…and we could go on and on. The fact is, one acts like a force over the other and this is what makes science, as a global discipline, constantly develop and evolve. As a scientist, writing a literature review can be very beneficial to your career, and set you apart from the expert elite in your field of interest. But it also can be an overwhelming task, so don’t hesitate in contacting Elsevier for text editing services, either for profound edition or just a last revision. We guarantee the very highest standards. You can also save time by letting us suggest and make the necessary amendments to your manuscript, so that it fits the structural pattern of a literature review. Who knows how many worldwide researchers you will impact with your next perfectly written literature review.

Know more: How to Find a Gap in Research .

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Literature Reviews

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Why conduct a literature review, stages of a literature review, lit reviews: an overview (video), check out these books.

  • Types of reviews
  • 1. Define your research question
  • 2. Plan your search
  • 3. Search the literature
  • 4. Organize your results
  • 5. Synthesize your findings
  • 6. Write the review
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importance of review of literature in research study

Definition: A literature review is a systematic examination and synthesis of existing scholarly research on a specific topic or subject.

Purpose: It serves to provide a comprehensive overview of the current state of knowledge within a particular field.

Analysis: Involves critically evaluating and summarizing key findings, methodologies, and debates found in academic literature.

Identifying Gaps: Aims to pinpoint areas where there is a lack of research or unresolved questions, highlighting opportunities for further investigation.

Contextualization: Enables researchers to understand how their work fits into the broader academic conversation and contributes to the existing body of knowledge.

importance of review of literature in research study

tl;dr  A literature review critically examines and synthesizes existing scholarly research and publications on a specific topic to provide a comprehensive understanding of the current state of knowledge in the field.

What is a literature review NOT?

❌ An annotated bibliography

❌ Original research

❌ A summary

❌ Something to be conducted at the end of your research

❌ An opinion piece

❌ A chronological compilation of studies

The reason for conducting a literature review is to:

importance of review of literature in research study

Literature Reviews: An Overview for Graduate Students

While this 9-minute video from NCSU is geared toward graduate students, it is useful for anyone conducting a literature review.

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Writing the literature review: A practical guide

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Writing literature reviews: A guide for students of the social and behavioral sciences

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So, you have to write a literature review: A guided workbook for engineers

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Telling a research story: Writing a literature review

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The literature review: Six steps to success

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Systematic approaches to a successful literature review

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Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

  • 5. The Literature Review
  • Purpose of Guide
  • Design Flaws to Avoid
  • Independent and Dependent Variables
  • Glossary of Research Terms
  • Reading Research Effectively
  • Narrowing a Topic Idea
  • Broadening a Topic Idea
  • Extending the Timeliness of a Topic Idea
  • Academic Writing Style
  • Choosing a Title
  • Making an Outline
  • Paragraph Development
  • Research Process Video Series
  • Executive Summary
  • The C.A.R.S. Model
  • Background Information
  • The Research Problem/Question
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Citation Tracking
  • Content Alert Services
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Primary Sources
  • Secondary Sources
  • Tiertiary Sources
  • Scholarly vs. Popular Publications
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Insiderness
  • Using Non-Textual Elements
  • Limitations of the Study
  • Common Grammar Mistakes
  • Writing Concisely
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Footnotes or Endnotes?
  • Further Readings
  • Generative AI and Writing
  • USC Libraries Tutorials and Other Guides
  • Bibliography

A literature review surveys prior research published in books, scholarly articles, and any other sources relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theory, and by so doing, provides a description, summary, and critical evaluation of these works in relation to the research problem being investigated. Literature reviews are designed to provide an overview of sources you have used in researching a particular topic and to demonstrate to your readers how your research fits within existing scholarship about the topic.

Fink, Arlene. Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper . Fourth edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2014.

Importance of a Good Literature Review

A literature review may consist of simply a summary of key sources, but in the social sciences, a literature review usually has an organizational pattern and combines both summary and synthesis, often within specific conceptual categories . A summary is a recap of the important information of the source, but a synthesis is a re-organization, or a reshuffling, of that information in a way that informs how you are planning to investigate a research problem. The analytical features of a literature review might:

  • Give a new interpretation of old material or combine new with old interpretations,
  • Trace the intellectual progression of the field, including major debates,
  • Depending on the situation, evaluate the sources and advise the reader on the most pertinent or relevant research, or
  • Usually in the conclusion of a literature review, identify where gaps exist in how a problem has been researched to date.

Given this, the purpose of a literature review is to:

  • Place each work in the context of its contribution to understanding the research problem being studied.
  • Describe the relationship of each work to the others under consideration.
  • Identify new ways to interpret prior research.
  • Reveal any gaps that exist in the literature.
  • Resolve conflicts amongst seemingly contradictory previous studies.
  • Identify areas of prior scholarship to prevent duplication of effort.
  • Point the way in fulfilling a need for additional research.
  • Locate your own research within the context of existing literature [very important].

Fink, Arlene. Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2005; Hart, Chris. Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1998; Jesson, Jill. Doing Your Literature Review: Traditional and Systematic Techniques . Los Angeles, CA: SAGE, 2011; Knopf, Jeffrey W. "Doing a Literature Review." PS: Political Science and Politics 39 (January 2006): 127-132; Ridley, Diana. The Literature Review: A Step-by-Step Guide for Students . 2nd ed. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE, 2012.

Types of Literature Reviews

It is important to think of knowledge in a given field as consisting of three layers. First, there are the primary studies that researchers conduct and publish. Second are the reviews of those studies that summarize and offer new interpretations built from and often extending beyond the primary studies. Third, there are the perceptions, conclusions, opinion, and interpretations that are shared informally among scholars that become part of the body of epistemological traditions within the field.

In composing a literature review, it is important to note that it is often this third layer of knowledge that is cited as "true" even though it often has only a loose relationship to the primary studies and secondary literature reviews. Given this, while literature reviews are designed to provide an overview and synthesis of pertinent sources you have explored, there are a number of approaches you could adopt depending upon the type of analysis underpinning your study.

Argumentative Review This form examines literature selectively in order to support or refute an argument, deeply embedded assumption, or philosophical problem already established in the literature. The purpose is to develop a body of literature that establishes a contrarian viewpoint. Given the value-laden nature of some social science research [e.g., educational reform; immigration control], argumentative approaches to analyzing the literature can be a legitimate and important form of discourse. However, note that they can also introduce problems of bias when they are used to make summary claims of the sort found in systematic reviews [see below].

Integrative Review Considered a form of research that reviews, critiques, and synthesizes representative literature on a topic in an integrated way such that new frameworks and perspectives on the topic are generated. The body of literature includes all studies that address related or identical hypotheses or research problems. A well-done integrative review meets the same standards as primary research in regard to clarity, rigor, and replication. This is the most common form of review in the social sciences.

Historical Review Few things rest in isolation from historical precedent. Historical literature reviews focus on examining research throughout a period of time, often starting with the first time an issue, concept, theory, phenomena emerged in the literature, then tracing its evolution within the scholarship of a discipline. The purpose is to place research in a historical context to show familiarity with state-of-the-art developments and to identify the likely directions for future research.

Methodological Review A review does not always focus on what someone said [findings], but how they came about saying what they say [method of analysis]. Reviewing methods of analysis provides a framework of understanding at different levels [i.e. those of theory, substantive fields, research approaches, and data collection and analysis techniques], how researchers draw upon a wide variety of knowledge ranging from the conceptual level to practical documents for use in fieldwork in the areas of ontological and epistemological consideration, quantitative and qualitative integration, sampling, interviewing, data collection, and data analysis. This approach helps highlight ethical issues which you should be aware of and consider as you go through your own study.

Systematic Review This form consists of an overview of existing evidence pertinent to a clearly formulated research question, which uses pre-specified and standardized methods to identify and critically appraise relevant research, and to collect, report, and analyze data from the studies that are included in the review. The goal is to deliberately document, critically evaluate, and summarize scientifically all of the research about a clearly defined research problem . Typically it focuses on a very specific empirical question, often posed in a cause-and-effect form, such as "To what extent does A contribute to B?" This type of literature review is primarily applied to examining prior research studies in clinical medicine and allied health fields, but it is increasingly being used in the social sciences.

Theoretical Review The purpose of this form is to examine the corpus of theory that has accumulated in regard to an issue, concept, theory, phenomena. The theoretical literature review helps to establish what theories already exist, the relationships between them, to what degree the existing theories have been investigated, and to develop new hypotheses to be tested. Often this form is used to help establish a lack of appropriate theories or reveal that current theories are inadequate for explaining new or emerging research problems. The unit of analysis can focus on a theoretical concept or a whole theory or framework.

NOTE : Most often the literature review will incorporate some combination of types. For example, a review that examines literature supporting or refuting an argument, assumption, or philosophical problem related to the research problem will also need to include writing supported by sources that establish the history of these arguments in the literature.

Baumeister, Roy F. and Mark R. Leary. "Writing Narrative Literature Reviews."  Review of General Psychology 1 (September 1997): 311-320; Mark R. Fink, Arlene. Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper . 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2005; Hart, Chris. Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1998; Kennedy, Mary M. "Defining a Literature." Educational Researcher 36 (April 2007): 139-147; Petticrew, Mark and Helen Roberts. Systematic Reviews in the Social Sciences: A Practical Guide . Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2006; Torracro, Richard. "Writing Integrative Literature Reviews: Guidelines and Examples." Human Resource Development Review 4 (September 2005): 356-367; Rocco, Tonette S. and Maria S. Plakhotnik. "Literature Reviews, Conceptual Frameworks, and Theoretical Frameworks: Terms, Functions, and Distinctions." Human Ressource Development Review 8 (March 2008): 120-130; Sutton, Anthea. Systematic Approaches to a Successful Literature Review . Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications, 2016.

Structure and Writing Style

I.  Thinking About Your Literature Review

The structure of a literature review should include the following in support of understanding the research problem :

  • An overview of the subject, issue, or theory under consideration, along with the objectives of the literature review,
  • Division of works under review into themes or categories [e.g. works that support a particular position, those against, and those offering alternative approaches entirely],
  • An explanation of how each work is similar to and how it varies from the others,
  • Conclusions as to which pieces are best considered in their argument, are most convincing of their opinions, and make the greatest contribution to the understanding and development of their area of research.

The critical evaluation of each work should consider :

  • Provenance -- what are the author's credentials? Are the author's arguments supported by evidence [e.g. primary historical material, case studies, narratives, statistics, recent scientific findings]?
  • Methodology -- were the techniques used to identify, gather, and analyze the data appropriate to addressing the research problem? Was the sample size appropriate? Were the results effectively interpreted and reported?
  • Objectivity -- is the author's perspective even-handed or prejudicial? Is contrary data considered or is certain pertinent information ignored to prove the author's point?
  • Persuasiveness -- which of the author's theses are most convincing or least convincing?
  • Validity -- are the author's arguments and conclusions convincing? Does the work ultimately contribute in any significant way to an understanding of the subject?

II.  Development of the Literature Review

Four Basic Stages of Writing 1.  Problem formulation -- which topic or field is being examined and what are its component issues? 2.  Literature search -- finding materials relevant to the subject being explored. 3.  Data evaluation -- determining which literature makes a significant contribution to the understanding of the topic. 4.  Analysis and interpretation -- discussing the findings and conclusions of pertinent literature.

Consider the following issues before writing the literature review: Clarify If your assignment is not specific about what form your literature review should take, seek clarification from your professor by asking these questions: 1.  Roughly how many sources would be appropriate to include? 2.  What types of sources should I review (books, journal articles, websites; scholarly versus popular sources)? 3.  Should I summarize, synthesize, or critique sources by discussing a common theme or issue? 4.  Should I evaluate the sources in any way beyond evaluating how they relate to understanding the research problem? 5.  Should I provide subheadings and other background information, such as definitions and/or a history? Find Models Use the exercise of reviewing the literature to examine how authors in your discipline or area of interest have composed their literature review sections. Read them to get a sense of the types of themes you might want to look for in your own research or to identify ways to organize your final review. The bibliography or reference section of sources you've already read, such as required readings in the course syllabus, are also excellent entry points into your own research. Narrow the Topic The narrower your topic, the easier it will be to limit the number of sources you need to read in order to obtain a good survey of relevant resources. Your professor will probably not expect you to read everything that's available about the topic, but you'll make the act of reviewing easier if you first limit scope of the research problem. A good strategy is to begin by searching the USC Libraries Catalog for recent books about the topic and review the table of contents for chapters that focuses on specific issues. You can also review the indexes of books to find references to specific issues that can serve as the focus of your research. For example, a book surveying the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may include a chapter on the role Egypt has played in mediating the conflict, or look in the index for the pages where Egypt is mentioned in the text. Consider Whether Your Sources are Current Some disciplines require that you use information that is as current as possible. This is particularly true in disciplines in medicine and the sciences where research conducted becomes obsolete very quickly as new discoveries are made. However, when writing a review in the social sciences, a survey of the history of the literature may be required. In other words, a complete understanding the research problem requires you to deliberately examine how knowledge and perspectives have changed over time. Sort through other current bibliographies or literature reviews in the field to get a sense of what your discipline expects. You can also use this method to explore what is considered by scholars to be a "hot topic" and what is not.

III.  Ways to Organize Your Literature Review

Chronology of Events If your review follows the chronological method, you could write about the materials according to when they were published. This approach should only be followed if a clear path of research building on previous research can be identified and that these trends follow a clear chronological order of development. For example, a literature review that focuses on continuing research about the emergence of German economic power after the fall of the Soviet Union. By Publication Order your sources by publication chronology, then, only if the order demonstrates a more important trend. For instance, you could order a review of literature on environmental studies of brown fields if the progression revealed, for example, a change in the soil collection practices of the researchers who wrote and/or conducted the studies. Thematic [“conceptual categories”] A thematic literature review is the most common approach to summarizing prior research in the social and behavioral sciences. Thematic reviews are organized around a topic or issue, rather than the progression of time, although the progression of time may still be incorporated into a thematic review. For example, a review of the Internet’s impact on American presidential politics could focus on the development of online political satire. While the study focuses on one topic, the Internet’s impact on American presidential politics, it would still be organized chronologically reflecting technological developments in media. The difference in this example between a "chronological" and a "thematic" approach is what is emphasized the most: themes related to the role of the Internet in presidential politics. Note that more authentic thematic reviews tend to break away from chronological order. A review organized in this manner would shift between time periods within each section according to the point being made. Methodological A methodological approach focuses on the methods utilized by the researcher. For the Internet in American presidential politics project, one methodological approach would be to look at cultural differences between the portrayal of American presidents on American, British, and French websites. Or the review might focus on the fundraising impact of the Internet on a particular political party. A methodological scope will influence either the types of documents in the review or the way in which these documents are discussed.

Other Sections of Your Literature Review Once you've decided on the organizational method for your literature review, the sections you need to include in the paper should be easy to figure out because they arise from your organizational strategy. In other words, a chronological review would have subsections for each vital time period; a thematic review would have subtopics based upon factors that relate to the theme or issue. However, sometimes you may need to add additional sections that are necessary for your study, but do not fit in the organizational strategy of the body. What other sections you include in the body is up to you. However, only include what is necessary for the reader to locate your study within the larger scholarship about the research problem.

Here are examples of other sections, usually in the form of a single paragraph, you may need to include depending on the type of review you write:

  • Current Situation : Information necessary to understand the current topic or focus of the literature review.
  • Sources Used : Describes the methods and resources [e.g., databases] you used to identify the literature you reviewed.
  • History : The chronological progression of the field, the research literature, or an idea that is necessary to understand the literature review, if the body of the literature review is not already a chronology.
  • Selection Methods : Criteria you used to select (and perhaps exclude) sources in your literature review. For instance, you might explain that your review includes only peer-reviewed [i.e., scholarly] sources.
  • Standards : Description of the way in which you present your information.
  • Questions for Further Research : What questions about the field has the review sparked? How will you further your research as a result of the review?

IV.  Writing Your Literature Review

Once you've settled on how to organize your literature review, you're ready to write each section. When writing your review, keep in mind these issues.

Use Evidence A literature review section is, in this sense, just like any other academic research paper. Your interpretation of the available sources must be backed up with evidence [citations] that demonstrates that what you are saying is valid. Be Selective Select only the most important points in each source to highlight in the review. The type of information you choose to mention should relate directly to the research problem, whether it is thematic, methodological, or chronological. Related items that provide additional information, but that are not key to understanding the research problem, can be included in a list of further readings . Use Quotes Sparingly Some short quotes are appropriate if you want to emphasize a point, or if what an author stated cannot be easily paraphrased. Sometimes you may need to quote certain terminology that was coined by the author, is not common knowledge, or taken directly from the study. Do not use extensive quotes as a substitute for using your own words in reviewing the literature. Summarize and Synthesize Remember to summarize and synthesize your sources within each thematic paragraph as well as throughout the review. Recapitulate important features of a research study, but then synthesize it by rephrasing the study's significance and relating it to your own work and the work of others. Keep Your Own Voice While the literature review presents others' ideas, your voice [the writer's] should remain front and center. For example, weave references to other sources into what you are writing but maintain your own voice by starting and ending the paragraph with your own ideas and wording. Use Caution When Paraphrasing When paraphrasing a source that is not your own, be sure to represent the author's information or opinions accurately and in your own words. Even when paraphrasing an author’s work, you still must provide a citation to that work.

V.  Common Mistakes to Avoid

These are the most common mistakes made in reviewing social science research literature.

  • Sources in your literature review do not clearly relate to the research problem;
  • You do not take sufficient time to define and identify the most relevant sources to use in the literature review related to the research problem;
  • Relies exclusively on secondary analytical sources rather than including relevant primary research studies or data;
  • Uncritically accepts another researcher's findings and interpretations as valid, rather than examining critically all aspects of the research design and analysis;
  • Does not describe the search procedures that were used in identifying the literature to review;
  • Reports isolated statistical results rather than synthesizing them in chi-squared or meta-analytic methods; and,
  • Only includes research that validates assumptions and does not consider contrary findings and alternative interpretations found in the literature.

Cook, Kathleen E. and Elise Murowchick. “Do Literature Review Skills Transfer from One Course to Another?” Psychology Learning and Teaching 13 (March 2014): 3-11; Fink, Arlene. Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper . 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2005; Hart, Chris. Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1998; Jesson, Jill. Doing Your Literature Review: Traditional and Systematic Techniques . London: SAGE, 2011; Literature Review Handout. Online Writing Center. Liberty University; Literature Reviews. The Writing Center. University of North Carolina; Onwuegbuzie, Anthony J. and Rebecca Frels. Seven Steps to a Comprehensive Literature Review: A Multimodal and Cultural Approach . Los Angeles, CA: SAGE, 2016; Ridley, Diana. The Literature Review: A Step-by-Step Guide for Students . 2nd ed. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE, 2012; Randolph, Justus J. “A Guide to Writing the Dissertation Literature Review." Practical Assessment, Research, and Evaluation. vol. 14, June 2009; Sutton, Anthea. Systematic Approaches to a Successful Literature Review . Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications, 2016; Taylor, Dena. The Literature Review: A Few Tips On Conducting It. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Writing a Literature Review. Academic Skills Centre. University of Canberra.

Writing Tip

Break Out of Your Disciplinary Box!

Thinking interdisciplinarily about a research problem can be a rewarding exercise in applying new ideas, theories, or concepts to an old problem. For example, what might cultural anthropologists say about the continuing conflict in the Middle East? In what ways might geographers view the need for better distribution of social service agencies in large cities than how social workers might study the issue? You don’t want to substitute a thorough review of core research literature in your discipline for studies conducted in other fields of study. However, particularly in the social sciences, thinking about research problems from multiple vectors is a key strategy for finding new solutions to a problem or gaining a new perspective. Consult with a librarian about identifying research databases in other disciplines; almost every field of study has at least one comprehensive database devoted to indexing its research literature.

Frodeman, Robert. The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity . New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Another Writing Tip

Don't Just Review for Content!

While conducting a review of the literature, maximize the time you devote to writing this part of your paper by thinking broadly about what you should be looking for and evaluating. Review not just what scholars are saying, but how are they saying it. Some questions to ask:

  • How are they organizing their ideas?
  • What methods have they used to study the problem?
  • What theories have been used to explain, predict, or understand their research problem?
  • What sources have they cited to support their conclusions?
  • How have they used non-textual elements [e.g., charts, graphs, figures, etc.] to illustrate key points?

When you begin to write your literature review section, you'll be glad you dug deeper into how the research was designed and constructed because it establishes a means for developing more substantial analysis and interpretation of the research problem.

Hart, Chris. Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1 998.

Yet Another Writing Tip

When Do I Know I Can Stop Looking and Move On?

Here are several strategies you can utilize to assess whether you've thoroughly reviewed the literature:

  • Look for repeating patterns in the research findings . If the same thing is being said, just by different people, then this likely demonstrates that the research problem has hit a conceptual dead end. At this point consider: Does your study extend current research?  Does it forge a new path? Or, does is merely add more of the same thing being said?
  • Look at sources the authors cite to in their work . If you begin to see the same researchers cited again and again, then this is often an indication that no new ideas have been generated to address the research problem.
  • Search Google Scholar to identify who has subsequently cited leading scholars already identified in your literature review [see next sub-tab]. This is called citation tracking and there are a number of sources that can help you identify who has cited whom, particularly scholars from outside of your discipline. Here again, if the same authors are being cited again and again, this may indicate no new literature has been written on the topic.

Onwuegbuzie, Anthony J. and Rebecca Frels. Seven Steps to a Comprehensive Literature Review: A Multimodal and Cultural Approach . Los Angeles, CA: Sage, 2016; Sutton, Anthea. Systematic Approaches to a Successful Literature Review . Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications, 2016.

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  • Last Updated: Feb 8, 2024 1:57 PM
  • URL: https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide
  • Systematic review
  • Open access
  • Published: 19 February 2024

‘It depends’: what 86 systematic reviews tell us about what strategies to use to support the use of research in clinical practice

  • Annette Boaz   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-0557-1294 1 ,
  • Juan Baeza 2 ,
  • Alec Fraser   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-1121-1551 2 &
  • Erik Persson 3  

Implementation Science volume  19 , Article number:  15 ( 2024 ) Cite this article

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The gap between research findings and clinical practice is well documented and a range of strategies have been developed to support the implementation of research into clinical practice. The objective of this study was to update and extend two previous reviews of systematic reviews of strategies designed to implement research evidence into clinical practice.

We developed a comprehensive systematic literature search strategy based on the terms used in the previous reviews to identify studies that looked explicitly at interventions designed to turn research evidence into practice. The search was performed in June 2022 in four electronic databases: Medline, Embase, Cochrane and Epistemonikos. We searched from January 2010 up to June 2022 and applied no language restrictions. Two independent reviewers appraised the quality of included studies using a quality assessment checklist. To reduce the risk of bias, papers were excluded following discussion between all members of the team. Data were synthesised using descriptive and narrative techniques to identify themes and patterns linked to intervention strategies, targeted behaviours, study settings and study outcomes.

We identified 32 reviews conducted between 2010 and 2022. The reviews are mainly of multi-faceted interventions ( n  = 20) although there are reviews focusing on single strategies (ICT, educational, reminders, local opinion leaders, audit and feedback, social media and toolkits). The majority of reviews report strategies achieving small impacts (normally on processes of care). There is much less evidence that these strategies have shifted patient outcomes. Furthermore, a lot of nuance lies behind these headline findings, and this is increasingly commented upon in the reviews themselves.

Combined with the two previous reviews, 86 systematic reviews of strategies to increase the implementation of research into clinical practice have been identified. We need to shift the emphasis away from isolating individual and multi-faceted interventions to better understanding and building more situated, relational and organisational capability to support the use of research in clinical practice. This will involve drawing on a wider range of research perspectives (including social science) in primary studies and diversifying the types of synthesis undertaken to include approaches such as realist synthesis which facilitate exploration of the context in which strategies are employed.

Peer Review reports

Contribution to the literature

Considerable time and money is invested in implementing and evaluating strategies to increase the implementation of research into clinical practice.

The growing body of evidence is not providing the anticipated clear lessons to support improved implementation.

Instead what is needed is better understanding and building more situated, relational and organisational capability to support the use of research in clinical practice.

This would involve a more central role in implementation science for a wider range of perspectives, especially from the social, economic, political and behavioural sciences and for greater use of different types of synthesis, such as realist synthesis.

Introduction

The gap between research findings and clinical practice is well documented and a range of interventions has been developed to increase the implementation of research into clinical practice [ 1 , 2 ]. In recent years researchers have worked to improve the consistency in the ways in which these interventions (often called strategies) are described to support their evaluation. One notable development has been the emergence of Implementation Science as a field focusing explicitly on “the scientific study of methods to promote the systematic uptake of research findings and other evidence-based practices into routine practice” ([ 3 ] p. 1). The work of implementation science focuses on closing, or at least narrowing, the gap between research and practice. One contribution has been to map existing interventions, identifying 73 discreet strategies to support research implementation [ 4 ] which have been grouped into 9 clusters [ 5 ]. The authors note that they have not considered the evidence of effectiveness of the individual strategies and that a next step is to understand better which strategies perform best in which combinations and for what purposes [ 4 ]. Other authors have noted that there is also scope to learn more from other related fields of study such as policy implementation [ 6 ] and to draw on methods designed to support the evaluation of complex interventions [ 7 ].

The increase in activity designed to support the implementation of research into practice and improvements in reporting provided the impetus for an update of a review of systematic reviews of the effectiveness of interventions designed to support the use of research in clinical practice [ 8 ] which was itself an update of the review conducted by Grimshaw and colleagues in 2001. The 2001 review [ 9 ] identified 41 reviews considering a range of strategies including educational interventions, audit and feedback, computerised decision support to financial incentives and combined interventions. The authors concluded that all the interventions had the potential to promote the uptake of evidence in practice, although no one intervention seemed to be more effective than the others in all settings. They concluded that combined interventions were more likely to be effective than single interventions. The 2011 review identified a further 13 systematic reviews containing 313 discrete primary studies. Consistent with the previous review, four main strategy types were identified: audit and feedback; computerised decision support; opinion leaders; and multi-faceted interventions (MFIs). Nine of the reviews reported on MFIs. The review highlighted the small effects of single interventions such as audit and feedback, computerised decision support and opinion leaders. MFIs claimed an improvement in effectiveness over single interventions, although effect sizes remained small to moderate and this improvement in effectiveness relating to MFIs has been questioned in a subsequent review [ 10 ]. In updating the review, we anticipated a larger pool of reviews and an opportunity to consolidate learning from more recent systematic reviews of interventions.

This review updates and extends our previous review of systematic reviews of interventions designed to implement research evidence into clinical practice. To identify potentially relevant peer-reviewed research papers, we developed a comprehensive systematic literature search strategy based on the terms used in the Grimshaw et al. [ 9 ] and Boaz, Baeza and Fraser [ 8 ] overview articles. To ensure optimal retrieval, our search strategy was refined with support from an expert university librarian, considering the ongoing improvements in the development of search filters for systematic reviews since our first review [ 11 ]. We also wanted to include technology-related terms (e.g. apps, algorithms, machine learning, artificial intelligence) to find studies that explored interventions based on the use of technological innovations as mechanistic tools for increasing the use of evidence into practice (see Additional file 1 : Appendix A for full search strategy).

The search was performed in June 2022 in the following electronic databases: Medline, Embase, Cochrane and Epistemonikos. We searched for articles published since the 2011 review. We searched from January 2010 up to June 2022 and applied no language restrictions. Reference lists of relevant papers were also examined.

We uploaded the results using EPPI-Reviewer, a web-based tool that facilitated semi-automation of the screening process and removal of duplicate studies. We made particular use of a priority screening function to reduce screening workload and avoid ‘data deluge’ [ 12 ]. Through machine learning, one reviewer screened a smaller number of records ( n  = 1200) to train the software to predict whether a given record was more likely to be relevant or irrelevant, thus pulling the relevant studies towards the beginning of the screening process. This automation did not replace manual work but helped the reviewer to identify eligible studies more quickly. During the selection process, we included studies that looked explicitly at interventions designed to turn research evidence into practice. Studies were included if they met the following pre-determined inclusion criteria:

The study was a systematic review

Search terms were included

Focused on the implementation of research evidence into practice

The methodological quality of the included studies was assessed as part of the review

Study populations included healthcare providers and patients. The EPOC taxonomy [ 13 ] was used to categorise the strategies. The EPOC taxonomy has four domains: delivery arrangements, financial arrangements, governance arrangements and implementation strategies. The implementation strategies domain includes 20 strategies targeted at healthcare workers. Numerous EPOC strategies were assessed in the review including educational strategies, local opinion leaders, reminders, ICT-focused approaches and audit and feedback. Some strategies that did not fit easily within the EPOC categories were also included. These were social media strategies and toolkits, and multi-faceted interventions (MFIs) (see Table  2 ). Some systematic reviews included comparisons of different interventions while other reviews compared one type of intervention against a control group. Outcomes related to improvements in health care processes or patient well-being. Numerous individual study types (RCT, CCT, BA, ITS) were included within the systematic reviews.

We excluded papers that:

Focused on changing patient rather than provider behaviour

Had no demonstrable outcomes

Made unclear or no reference to research evidence

The last of these criteria was sometimes difficult to judge, and there was considerable discussion amongst the research team as to whether the link between research evidence and practice was sufficiently explicit in the interventions analysed. As we discussed in the previous review [ 8 ] in the field of healthcare, the principle of evidence-based practice is widely acknowledged and tools to change behaviour such as guidelines are often seen to be an implicit codification of evidence, despite the fact that this is not always the case.

Reviewers employed a two-stage process to select papers for inclusion. First, all titles and abstracts were screened by one reviewer to determine whether the study met the inclusion criteria. Two papers [ 14 , 15 ] were identified that fell just before the 2010 cut-off. As they were not identified in the searches for the first review [ 8 ] they were included and progressed to assessment. Each paper was rated as include, exclude or maybe. The full texts of 111 relevant papers were assessed independently by at least two authors. To reduce the risk of bias, papers were excluded following discussion between all members of the team. 32 papers met the inclusion criteria and proceeded to data extraction. The study selection procedure is documented in a PRISMA literature flow diagram (see Fig.  1 ). We were able to include French, Spanish and Portuguese papers in the selection reflecting the language skills in the study team, but none of the papers identified met the inclusion criteria. Other non- English language papers were excluded.

figure 1

PRISMA flow diagram. Source: authors

One reviewer extracted data on strategy type, number of included studies, local, target population, effectiveness and scope of impact from the included studies. Two reviewers then independently read each paper and noted key findings and broad themes of interest which were then discussed amongst the wider authorial team. Two independent reviewers appraised the quality of included studies using a Quality Assessment Checklist based on Oxman and Guyatt [ 16 ] and Francke et al. [ 17 ]. Each study was rated a quality score ranging from 1 (extensive flaws) to 7 (minimal flaws) (see Additional file 2 : Appendix B). All disagreements were resolved through discussion. Studies were not excluded in this updated overview based on methodological quality as we aimed to reflect the full extent of current research into this topic.

The extracted data were synthesised using descriptive and narrative techniques to identify themes and patterns in the data linked to intervention strategies, targeted behaviours, study settings and study outcomes.

Thirty-two studies were included in the systematic review. Table 1. provides a detailed overview of the included systematic reviews comprising reference, strategy type, quality score, number of included studies, local, target population, effectiveness and scope of impact (see Table  1. at the end of the manuscript). Overall, the quality of the studies was high. Twenty-three studies scored 7, six studies scored 6, one study scored 5, one study scored 4 and one study scored 3. The primary focus of the review was on reviews of effectiveness studies, but a small number of reviews did include data from a wider range of methods including qualitative studies which added to the analysis in the papers [ 18 , 19 , 20 , 21 ]. The majority of reviews report strategies achieving small impacts (normally on processes of care). There is much less evidence that these strategies have shifted patient outcomes. In this section, we discuss the different EPOC-defined implementation strategies in turn. Interestingly, we found only two ‘new’ approaches in this review that did not fit into the existing EPOC approaches. These are a review focused on the use of social media and a review considering toolkits. In addition to single interventions, we also discuss multi-faceted interventions. These were the most common intervention approach overall. A summary is provided in Table  2 .

Educational strategies

The overview identified three systematic reviews focusing on educational strategies. Grudniewicz et al. [ 22 ] explored the effectiveness of printed educational materials on primary care physician knowledge, behaviour and patient outcomes and concluded they were not effective in any of these aspects. Koota, Kääriäinen and Melender [ 23 ] focused on educational interventions promoting evidence-based practice among emergency room/accident and emergency nurses and found that interventions involving face-to-face contact led to significant or highly significant effects on patient benefits and emergency nurses’ knowledge, skills and behaviour. Interventions using written self-directed learning materials also led to significant improvements in nurses’ knowledge of evidence-based practice. Although the quality of the studies was high, the review primarily included small studies with low response rates, and many of them relied on self-assessed outcomes; consequently, the strength of the evidence for these outcomes is modest. Wu et al. [ 20 ] questioned if educational interventions aimed at nurses to support the implementation of evidence-based practice improve patient outcomes. Although based on evaluation projects and qualitative data, their results also suggest that positive changes on patient outcomes can be made following the implementation of specific evidence-based approaches (or projects). The differing positive outcomes for educational strategies aimed at nurses might indicate that the target audience is important.

Local opinion leaders

Flodgren et al. [ 24 ] was the only systemic review focusing solely on opinion leaders. The review found that local opinion leaders alone, or in combination with other interventions, can be effective in promoting evidence‐based practice, but this varies both within and between studies and the effect on patient outcomes is uncertain. The review found that, overall, any intervention involving opinion leaders probably improves healthcare professionals’ compliance with evidence-based practice but varies within and across studies. However, how opinion leaders had an impact could not be determined because of insufficient details were provided, illustrating that reporting specific details in published studies is important if diffusion of effective methods of increasing evidence-based practice is to be spread across a system. The usefulness of this review is questionable because it cannot provide evidence of what is an effective opinion leader, whether teams of opinion leaders or a single opinion leader are most effective, or the most effective methods used by opinion leaders.

Pantoja et al. [ 26 ] was the only systemic review focusing solely on manually generated reminders delivered on paper included in the overview. The review explored how these affected professional practice and patient outcomes. The review concluded that manually generated reminders delivered on paper as a single intervention probably led to small to moderate increases in adherence to clinical recommendations, and they could be used as a single quality improvement intervention. However, the authors indicated that this intervention would make little or no difference to patient outcomes. The authors state that such a low-tech intervention may be useful in low- and middle-income countries where paper records are more likely to be the norm.

ICT-focused approaches

The three ICT-focused reviews [ 14 , 27 , 28 ] showed mixed results. Jamal, McKenzie and Clark [ 14 ] explored the impact of health information technology on the quality of medical and health care. They examined the impact of electronic health record, computerised provider order-entry, or decision support system. This showed a positive improvement in adherence to evidence-based guidelines but not to patient outcomes. The number of studies included in the review was low and so a conclusive recommendation could not be reached based on this review. Similarly, Brown et al. [ 28 ] found that technology-enabled knowledge translation interventions may improve knowledge of health professionals, but all eight studies raised concerns of bias. The De Angelis et al. [ 27 ] review was more promising, reporting that ICT can be a good way of disseminating clinical practice guidelines but conclude that it is unclear which type of ICT method is the most effective.

Audit and feedback

Sykes, McAnuff and Kolehmainen [ 29 ] examined whether audit and feedback were effective in dementia care and concluded that it remains unclear which ingredients of audit and feedback are successful as the reviewed papers illustrated large variations in the effectiveness of interventions using audit and feedback.

Non-EPOC listed strategies: social media, toolkits

There were two new (non-EPOC listed) intervention types identified in this review compared to the 2011 review — fewer than anticipated. We categorised a third — ‘care bundles’ [ 36 ] as a multi-faceted intervention due to its description in practice and a fourth — ‘Technology Enhanced Knowledge Transfer’ [ 28 ] was classified as an ICT-focused approach. The first new strategy was identified in Bhatt et al.’s [ 30 ] systematic review of the use of social media for the dissemination of clinical practice guidelines. They reported that the use of social media resulted in a significant improvement in knowledge and compliance with evidence-based guidelines compared with more traditional methods. They noted that a wide selection of different healthcare professionals and patients engaged with this type of social media and its global reach may be significant for low- and middle-income countries. This review was also noteworthy for developing a simple stepwise method for using social media for the dissemination of clinical practice guidelines. However, it is debatable whether social media can be classified as an intervention or just a different way of delivering an intervention. For example, the review discussed involving opinion leaders and patient advocates through social media. However, this was a small review that included only five studies, so further research in this new area is needed. Yamada et al. [ 31 ] draw on 39 studies to explore the application of toolkits, 18 of which had toolkits embedded within larger KT interventions, and 21 of which evaluated toolkits as standalone interventions. The individual component strategies of the toolkits were highly variable though the authors suggest that they align most closely with educational strategies. The authors conclude that toolkits as either standalone strategies or as part of MFIs hold some promise for facilitating evidence use in practice but caution that the quality of many of the primary studies included is considered weak limiting these findings.

Multi-faceted interventions

The majority of the systematic reviews ( n  = 20) reported on more than one intervention type. Some of these systematic reviews focus exclusively on multi-faceted interventions, whilst others compare different single or combined interventions aimed at achieving similar outcomes in particular settings. While these two approaches are often described in a similar way, they are actually quite distinct from each other as the former report how multiple strategies may be strategically combined in pursuance of an agreed goal, whilst the latter report how different strategies may be incidentally used in sometimes contrasting settings in the pursuance of similar goals. Ariyo et al. [ 35 ] helpfully summarise five key elements often found in effective MFI strategies in LMICs — but which may also be transferrable to HICs. First, effective MFIs encourage a multi-disciplinary approach acknowledging the roles played by different professional groups to collectively incorporate evidence-informed practice. Second, they utilise leadership drawing on a wide set of clinical and non-clinical actors including managers and even government officials. Third, multiple types of educational practices are utilised — including input from patients as stakeholders in some cases. Fourth, protocols, checklists and bundles are used — most effectively when local ownership is encouraged. Finally, most MFIs included an emphasis on monitoring and evaluation [ 35 ]. In contrast, other studies offer little information about the nature of the different MFI components of included studies which makes it difficult to extrapolate much learning from them in relation to why or how MFIs might affect practice (e.g. [ 28 , 38 ]). Ultimately, context matters, which some review authors argue makes it difficult to say with real certainty whether single or MFI strategies are superior (e.g. [ 21 , 27 ]). Taking all the systematic reviews together we may conclude that MFIs appear to be more likely to generate positive results than single interventions (e.g. [ 34 , 45 ]) though other reviews should make us cautious (e.g. [ 32 , 43 ]).

While multi-faceted interventions still seem to be more effective than single-strategy interventions, there were important distinctions between how the results of reviews of MFIs are interpreted in this review as compared to the previous reviews [ 8 , 9 ], reflecting greater nuance and debate in the literature. This was particularly noticeable where the effectiveness of MFIs was compared to single strategies, reflecting developments widely discussed in previous studies [ 10 ]. We found that most systematic reviews are bounded by their clinical, professional, spatial, system, or setting criteria and often seek to draw out implications for the implementation of evidence in their areas of specific interest (such as nursing or acute care). Frequently this means combining all relevant studies to explore the respective foci of each systematic review. Therefore, most reviews we categorised as MFIs actually include highly variable numbers and combinations of intervention strategies and highly heterogeneous original study designs. This makes statistical analyses of the type used by Squires et al. [ 10 ] on the three reviews in their paper not possible. Further, it also makes extrapolating findings and commenting on broad themes complex and difficult. This may suggest that future research should shift its focus from merely examining ‘what works’ to ‘what works where and what works for whom’ — perhaps pointing to the value of realist approaches to these complex review topics [ 48 , 49 ] and other more theory-informed approaches [ 50 ].

Some reviews have a relatively small number of studies (i.e. fewer than 10) and the authors are often understandably reluctant to engage with wider debates about the implications of their findings. Other larger studies do engage in deeper discussions about internal comparisons of findings across included studies and also contextualise these in wider debates. Some of the most informative studies (e.g. [ 35 , 40 ]) move beyond EPOC categories and contextualise MFIs within wider systems thinking and implementation theory. This distinction between MFIs and single interventions can actually be very useful as it offers lessons about the contexts in which individual interventions might have bounded effectiveness (i.e. educational interventions for individual change). Taken as a whole, this may also then help in terms of how and when to conjoin single interventions into effective MFIs.

In the two previous reviews, a consistent finding was that MFIs were more effective than single interventions [ 8 , 9 ]. However, like Squires et al. [ 10 ] this overview is more equivocal on this important issue. There are four points which may help account for the differences in findings in this regard. Firstly, the diversity of the systematic reviews in terms of clinical topic or setting is an important factor. Secondly, there is heterogeneity of the studies within the included systematic reviews themselves. Thirdly, there is a lack of consistency with regards to the definition and strategies included within of MFIs. Finally, there are epistemological differences across the papers and the reviews. This means that the results that are presented depend on the methods used to measure, report, and synthesise them. For instance, some reviews highlight that education strategies can be useful to improve provider understanding — but without wider organisational or system-level change, they may struggle to deliver sustained transformation [ 19 , 44 ].

It is also worth highlighting the importance of the theory of change underlying the different interventions. Where authors of the systematic reviews draw on theory, there is space to discuss/explain findings. We note a distinction between theoretical and atheoretical systematic review discussion sections. Atheoretical reviews tend to present acontextual findings (for instance, one study found very positive results for one intervention, and this gets highlighted in the abstract) whilst theoretically informed reviews attempt to contextualise and explain patterns within the included studies. Theory-informed systematic reviews seem more likely to offer more profound and useful insights (see [ 19 , 35 , 40 , 43 , 45 ]). We find that the most insightful systematic reviews of MFIs engage in theoretical generalisation — they attempt to go beyond the data of individual studies and discuss the wider implications of the findings of the studies within their reviews drawing on implementation theory. At the same time, they highlight the active role of context and the wider relational and system-wide issues linked to implementation. It is these types of investigations that can help providers further develop evidence-based practice.

This overview has identified a small, but insightful set of papers that interrogate and help theorise why, how, for whom, and in which circumstances it might be the case that MFIs are superior (see [ 19 , 35 , 40 ] once more). At the level of this overview — and in most of the systematic reviews included — it appears to be the case that MFIs struggle with the question of attribution. In addition, there are other important elements that are often unmeasured, or unreported (e.g. costs of the intervention — see [ 40 ]). Finally, the stronger systematic reviews [ 19 , 35 , 40 , 43 , 45 ] engage with systems issues, human agency and context [ 18 ] in a way that was not evident in the systematic reviews identified in the previous reviews [ 8 , 9 ]. The earlier reviews lacked any theory of change that might explain why MFIs might be more effective than single ones — whereas now some systematic reviews do this, which enables them to conclude that sometimes single interventions can still be more effective.

As Nilsen et al. ([ 6 ] p. 7) note ‘Study findings concerning the effectiveness of various approaches are continuously synthesized and assembled in systematic reviews’. We may have gone as far as we can in understanding the implementation of evidence through systematic reviews of single and multi-faceted interventions and the next step would be to conduct more research exploring the complex and situated nature of evidence used in clinical practice and by particular professional groups. This would further build on the nuanced discussion and conclusion sections in a subset of the papers we reviewed. This might also support the field to move away from isolating individual implementation strategies [ 6 ] to explore the complex processes involving a range of actors with differing capacities [ 51 ] working in diverse organisational cultures. Taxonomies of implementation strategies do not fully account for the complex process of implementation, which involves a range of different actors with different capacities and skills across multiple system levels. There is plenty of work to build on, particularly in the social sciences, which currently sits at the margins of debates about evidence implementation (see for example, Normalisation Process Theory [ 52 ]).

There are several changes that we have identified in this overview of systematic reviews in comparison to the review we published in 2011 [ 8 ]. A consistent and welcome finding is that the overall quality of the systematic reviews themselves appears to have improved between the two reviews, although this is not reflected upon in the papers. This is exhibited through better, clearer reporting mechanisms in relation to the mechanics of the reviews, alongside a greater attention to, and deeper description of, how potential biases in included papers are discussed. Additionally, there is an increased, but still limited, inclusion of original studies conducted in low- and middle-income countries as opposed to just high-income countries. Importantly, we found that many of these systematic reviews are attuned to, and comment upon the contextual distinctions of pursuing evidence-informed interventions in health care settings in different economic settings. Furthermore, systematic reviews included in this updated article cover a wider set of clinical specialities (both within and beyond hospital settings) and have a focus on a wider set of healthcare professions — discussing both similarities, differences and inter-professional challenges faced therein, compared to the earlier reviews. These wider ranges of studies highlight that a particular intervention or group of interventions may work well for one professional group but be ineffective for another. This diversity of study settings allows us to consider the important role context (in its many forms) plays on implementing evidence into practice. Examining the complex and varied context of health care will help us address what Nilsen et al. ([ 6 ] p. 1) described as, ‘society’s health problems [that] require research-based knowledge acted on by healthcare practitioners together with implementation of political measures from governmental agencies’. This will help us shift implementation science to move, ‘beyond a success or failure perspective towards improved analysis of variables that could explain the impact of the implementation process’ ([ 6 ] p. 2).

This review brings together 32 papers considering individual and multi-faceted interventions designed to support the use of evidence in clinical practice. The majority of reviews report strategies achieving small impacts (normally on processes of care). There is much less evidence that these strategies have shifted patient outcomes. Combined with the two previous reviews, 86 systematic reviews of strategies to increase the implementation of research into clinical practice have been conducted. As a whole, this substantial body of knowledge struggles to tell us more about the use of individual and MFIs than: ‘it depends’. To really move forwards in addressing the gap between research evidence and practice, we may need to shift the emphasis away from isolating individual and multi-faceted interventions to better understanding and building more situated, relational and organisational capability to support the use of research in clinical practice. This will involve drawing on a wider range of perspectives, especially from the social, economic, political and behavioural sciences in primary studies and diversifying the types of synthesis undertaken to include approaches such as realist synthesis which facilitate exploration of the context in which strategies are employed. Harvey et al. [ 53 ] suggest that when context is likely to be critical to implementation success there are a range of primary research approaches (participatory research, realist evaluation, developmental evaluation, ethnography, quality/ rapid cycle improvement) that are likely to be appropriate and insightful. While these approaches often form part of implementation studies in the form of process evaluations, they are usually relatively small scale in relation to implementation research as a whole. As a result, the findings often do not make it into the subsequent systematic reviews. This review provides further evidence that we need to bring qualitative approaches in from the periphery to play a central role in many implementation studies and subsequent evidence syntheses. It would be helpful for systematic reviews, at the very least, to include more detail about the interventions and their implementation in terms of how and why they worked.

Availability of data and materials

The datasets used and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Abbreviations

Before and after study

Controlled clinical trial

Effective Practice and Organisation of Care

High-income countries

Information and Communications Technology

Interrupted time series

Knowledge translation

Low- and middle-income countries

Randomised controlled trial

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Professor Kathryn Oliver for her support in the planning the review, Professor Steve Hanney for reading and commenting on the final manuscript and the staff at LSHTM library for their support in planning and conducting the literature search.

This study was supported by LSHTM’s Research England QR strategic priorities funding allocation and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration South London (NIHR ARC South London) at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Grant number NIHR200152. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR, the Department of Health and Social Care or Research England.

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AB led the conceptual development and structure of the manuscript. EP conducted the searches and data extraction. All authors contributed to screening and quality appraisal. EP and AF wrote the first draft of the methods section. AB, JB and AF performed result synthesis and contributed to the analyses. AB wrote the first draft of the manuscript and incorporated feedback and revisions from all other authors. All authors revised and approved the final manuscript.

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Boaz, A., Baeza, J., Fraser, A. et al. ‘It depends’: what 86 systematic reviews tell us about what strategies to use to support the use of research in clinical practice. Implementation Sci 19 , 15 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13012-024-01337-z

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importance of review of literature in research study

Research on country-of-origin perceptions: review, critical assessment, and the path forward

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  • Saeed Samiee 1 ,
  • Leonidas C. Leonidou 2 ,
  • Constantine S. Katsikeas 3 &
  • Bilge Aykol 4  

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Despite the volume of research and significant advancements in the country-of-origin (CO) area, the topic remains contentious in two key areas. One area is the presence of tensions and contradictions associated with origin-related research. The second relates to an over-reliance on relatively narrow theories that can neither address disparities nor capture a range of CO ecosystem considerations critical to the effective use of results in addressing firm-level planning and outcomes. Our examination of the business-to-consumer CO literature details the characteristics of published work and highlights the substantive contributions of the 50 most influential publications, with the overarching goal of accommodating meaningful future research. We examine 417 journal articles (551 studies) published from 1962 to 2022 to extract important granular characteristics of the literature and to summarize the findings of the most influential CO contributions. We also report the results of two surveys of academic researchers and US exporters and importers examining CO’s role in research and practice. Finally, we propose a theoretical lens, the paradox theory, as a basis for considering and framing competing aspects of the CO ecosystem and recommend the use of multilevel modeling to link future studies to marketing strategy and performance outcomes, thus advancing CO research.

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The research study examines the effect of a product's country of origin (CO – the country where a product is made) on consumer behavior. Despite thorough research on this subject since the 1960s, there are still areas of uncertainty regarding how consumers perceive products and brands from different countries, and how these perceptions guide their purchasing choices. The study's goal is to critically evaluate existing research on CO effects on consumer behavior and to provide summaries of the top 50 most influential contributions. The study conducted a thorough review of published research on CO effects, supplemented by two surveys to gather the opinions of both CO researchers and industry professionals. The research examines the theoretical foundations of the CO literature, key methodological aspects of CO research, major empirical findings on the topic, and offers suggestions for future research. To identify and extract prior CO articles, the study utilized several key datasets, including ABI Global, EBSCO, Scopus, and the Web of Science. In general, CO research shows that consumers have different perceptions of products and brands from different countries, which can guide their purchasing decisions. However, there are ongoing questions and concerns about the precision and relevance of CO research, including weak or nonexistent theoretical and conceptual framing, conflicting findings, and limited managerial relevance. The study asserts that the CO literature lacks a comprehensive theoretical framework that includes competing aspects within the CO ecosystem. The research concludes that future CO studies should incorporate consumer sentiments that are linked to marketing strategy and performance outcomes. The study also suggests the use of multilevel conceptualizations that concurrently involve consumers, suppliers, and the context of the consuming nation, inclusive of marketing strategy elements and outcomes. The results of this research have substantial implications for researchers, managers, and policymakers in understanding and leveraging the effect of a product's country of origin on consumer behavior.

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Malgré le volume de recherche et les avancées significatives dans le domaine du pays d’origine ( Country-of-Origin - CO), le sujet reste controversé sur deux aspects clés. Le premier réside dans la présence de tensions et de contradictions associées à la recherche portée sur l’origine. Le second est lié à une dépendance excessive des théories relativement étroites lesquelles ne peuvent ni aborder les disparités ni saisir une série de considérations liées à l’écosystème du CO essentielles à l’utilisation efficace des résultats dans la résolution de la planification et des conséquences au niveau de l’entreprise. Notre examen de la littérature du «Business-to-Consumer» CO détaille les caractéristiques des travaux publiés et met en lumière les contributions substantielles des 50 publications les plus influentes, et ce dans le but ultime de soutenir de futures recherches importantes. Nous examinons 417 articles scientifiques (551 travaux) publiés durant la période 1962–2022 afin d’extraire des caractéristiques granulaires importantes de la littérature et de résumer les résultats des contributions les plus influentes dans le domaine du CO. Nous spécifions également les résultats de deux enquêtes menées auprès de chercheurs universitaires et d’exportateurs et importateurs américains visant à examiner le rôle du CO dans la recherche et la pratique. Enfin, nous proposons une perspective théorique, la théorie du paradoxe, comme base pour considérer et encadrer les aspects concurrents de l'écosystème du CO, et nous recommandons l'utilisation d'une modélisation multiniveaux pour relier de futures recherches à la stratégie de marketing et aux conséquences en matière de performance, faisant ainsi progresser la recherche sur le CO.

A pesar del volumen de investigación y los avances significativos del área de país de origen (CO por las siglas en inglés usada por los autores), el tema sigue siendo polémico en dos áreas clave. Un área es la presencia de tensiones y contradicciones asociadas con la investigación relacionada con el origen. La segunda se basa excesivamente en teorías relativamente restringidas que no pueden ni abordar disparidades ni capturar un rango de consideraciones críticas de ecosistemas de país de origen para el uso efectivo de resultados en abordar la planeación y los resultados a nivel de la empresa. Nuestro estudio de la bibliografía sobre el país de origen de las empresas y consumidores detalla las características de los trabajos publicados y destaca las contribuciones sustantivas de las 50 publicaciones más influyentes, con el objetivo general de dar cabida a futuras investigaciones significativas. Examinamos 417 artículos de revistas (551 estudios) publicados entre 1962 y 2022 para extraer importantes características granulares de la bibliografía y resumir las conclusiones de las contribuciones sobre país de origen más influyentes. También presentamos los resultados de dos encuestas realizadas a investigadores académicos y a exportadores e importadores estadounidenses, examinando el papel del país de origen en la investigación y la práctica. Por último, proponemos un lente teórico, la teoría de la paradoja, como base para considerar y enmarcar los aspectos contrapuestos del ecosistema del país de origen y recomendamos la modelación multinivel para vincular futuros estudios con la estrategia de marketing y los resultados de rendimiento, avanzando de esta manera la investigación sobre el país de origen.

Apesar do volume de pesquisa e avanços significativos na área do país de origem (CO), o tema permanece controverso em duas áreas principais. Uma área é a presença de tensões e contradições associadas à pesquisa relacionada com a origem. A segunda diz respeito a uma dependência excessiva de teorias relativamente estreitas que não conseguem abordar disparidades nem captar uma série de considerações sobre o ecossistema do CO críticas para a utilização eficaz de resultados na abordagem do planeamento e dos resultados a nível da empresa. Nossa análise da literatura sobre CO entre empresas e consumidores detalha as características de trabalhos publicados e destaca as contribuições substantivas das 50 publicações mais influentes, com o objetivo geral de acomodar significativas pesquisas futuras. Examinamos 417 artigos de periódicos (551 estudos) publicados de 1962 a 2022 para extrair características granulares importantes da literatura e resumir as descobertas das contribuições mais influentes do CO. Também relatamos os resultados de duas pesquisas realizadas com pesquisadores acadêmicos e exportadores e importadores dos Estados Unidos que examinam o papel do CO na pesquisa e na prática. Finalmente, propomos uma lente teórica, a teoria do paradoxo, como uma base para considerar e enquadrar aspectos concorrentes do ecossistema de CO e recomendamos o uso de modelagem multinível para associar estudos futuros à estratégia de marketing e resultados de desempenho, dessa forma avançando a pesquisa de CO.

尽管在原产国 (CO) 领域有大量研究并取得了重大进展, 该主题在两个关键领域仍然存在着争议。其中一个领域是与起源相关的研究有冲突和矛盾。第二个与过度依赖相对狭隘的理论有关, 这些理论既不能解决差异又不能捕捉一系列的对于有效利用结果来解决公司层面的规划和成果至关重要的关于CO生态系统的考量。我们对企业对消费者的 CO 文献的研究详细介绍了所发作品的特征, 并强调了 50 种最有影响的出版物的实质贡献, 其总体目标是为有意义的未来研究提供支持。我们研究了 1962 至 2022 年间发表的 417 篇期刊文章 (551 项研究) , 以提取文献的重要细节特征, 并总结对 CO最具影响力的贡献的研究发现。我们还报告了两项针对学术研究人员和美国进出口商的问卷调查结果, 以考察CO在研究和实践中的作用。最后, 我们提出了一种理论视角, 即悖论, 作为考虑和框架 CO 生态系统竞争方面的基础, 并建议使用多层次建模将未来研究与营销策略和绩效结果联系起来, 从而推进 CO 研究。

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importance of review of literature in research study

The EU, for example, grants three geographic indications (GI) if a product has unique characteristics linked to a region: (1) protected designation of origin (PDO: food and wine), (2) protected geographical indication (PGI: food and wine), and (3) geographical indication (GI: spirit drinks). PDO has the strongest link to origin (e.g., Kalamata olive oil). PGI is associative based on the connection between a region and product (e.g., Bordeaux and Champagne) (European Commission, 2023 ).

The Academic Journal Guide (Chartered Association of Business Schools) classifies most business publications, including about 70 marketing journals.

Search terms are available from the authors upon request.

We define an adapted theory as one that modifies its original form by taking into consideration the specific context (or problem) at hand, inclusive of the theory’s associated constructs.

A recent collection of contributions by Al-Sulaiti and Al-Sulaiti ( 2023 ) is indicative of scholars’ attention to this gap in the CO literature.

Although we commissioned 35 responses each from importers and exporters, Qualtrics delivered 13 additional responses (9 exporters and 4 importers).

Group means for exporters and importers are not statistically different and are only slightly above the midpoint of our 7-point scale. However, importers’ means are invariably lower across all items (exporters = 4.70–5.34; importers = 4.05–5.15, where 1 = strongly disagree and 7 = strongly agree).

We use “foreign-linked” to convey all origin-related associations with a product, brand, or service, inclusive of foreign ownership of locally produced products or brands, and service/tourism brands.

The “overlapping demand theory” (Linder, 1961 ) asserts that greater similarity of end-user preferences across countries leads to greater similarity across products and services demanded and, hence, the greater the trade potential between nations.

Some CO studies use “multilevel” to refer to consumer responses to, e.g., product and brand (e.g., Leonidou, Palihawadana, & Talias, 2007 ; Zhou, Yang, & Hui, 2010 ), but do not use multilevel designs.

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Samiee, S., Leonidou, L.C., Katsikeas, C.S. et al. Research on country-of-origin perceptions: review, critical assessment, and the path forward. J Int Bus Stud (2024). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41267-023-00678-z

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Key influences on university students’ physical activity: a systematic review using the Theoretical Domains Framework and the COM-B model of human behaviour

  • Catherine E. B. Brown 1 ,
  • Karyn Richardson 1 ,
  • Bengianni Halil-Pizzirani 1 ,
  • Lou Atkins 2 ,
  • Murat Yücel 3   na1 &
  • Rebecca A. Segrave 1   na1  

BMC Public Health volume  24 , Article number:  418 ( 2024 ) Cite this article

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Physical activity is important for all aspects of health, yet most university students are not active enough to reap these benefits. Understanding the factors that influence physical activity in the context of behaviour change theory is valuable to inform the development of effective evidence-based interventions to increase university students’ physical activity. The current systematic review a) identified barriers and facilitators to university students’ physical activity, b) mapped these factors to the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) and COM-B model, and c) ranked the relative importance of TDF domains.

Data synthesis included qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods research published between 01.01.2010—15.03.2023. Four databases (MEDLINE, PsycINFO, SPORTDiscus, and Scopus) were searched to identify publications on the barriers/facilitators to university students' physical activity. Data regarding study design and key findings (i.e., participant quotes, qualitative theme descriptions, and survey results) were extracted. Framework analysis was used to code barriers/facilitators to the TDF and COM-B model. Within each TDF domain, thematic analysis was used to group similar barriers/facilitators into descriptive theme labels. TDF domains were ranked by relative importance based on frequency, elaboration, and evidence of mixed barriers/facilitators.

Thirty-nine studies involving 17,771 participants met the inclusion criteria. Fifty-six barriers and facilitators mapping to twelve TDF domains and the COM-B model were identified as relevant to students’ physical activity. Three TDF domains, environmental context and resources (e.g., time constraints), social influences (e.g., exercising with others), and goals (e.g., prioritisation of physical activity) were judged to be of greatest relative importance (identified in > 50% of studies). TDF domains of lower relative importance were intentions, reinforcement, emotion, beliefs about consequences, knowledge, physical skills, beliefs about capabilities, cognitive and interpersonal skills, social/professional role and identity, and behavioural regulation. No barriers/facilitators relating to the TDF domains of memory, attention and decision process, or optimism were identified.

Conclusions

The current findings provide a foundation to enhance the development of theory and evidence informed interventions to support university students’ engagement in physical activity. Interventions that include a focus on the TDF domains 'environmental context and resources,' 'social influences,' and 'goals,' hold particular promise for promoting active student lifestyles.

Trial registration

Prospero ID—CRD42021242170.

Peer Review reports

Physical activity (PA) has a powerful positive impact on all aspects of health. Regular PA can prevent and treat noncommunicable diseases [ 1 , 2 ], build resilience against the development of mental illness [ 3 ], and attenuate cognitive decline [ 4 ]. Given these pervasive health benefits, increasing participation in PA is recognised as a global priority by international public health organisations. Indeed, a core aspect of the World Health Organisation’s action plan for a “healthier world” is to achieve a 15% reduction in the global prevalence of physical inactivity by 2030 [ 5 ].

Despite international efforts to reduce physical inactivity, university students frequently do not meet the recommended level of PA required to attain its health benefits. Approximately 40–50% of university students are physically inactive [ 6 ], many of whom attribute their inactivity to unique challenges associated with university life. For many students, the transition to university coincides with new academic, social, financial, and personal responsibilities [ 7 ], disrupting established routines and imposing additional barriers to the initiation or maintenance of healthy lifestyle habits such as regular PA [ 8 ]. Students’ PA tends to decline further during periods of high stress and academic pressure, such as exams and assignment deadlines [ 9 ]. This pattern has been observed across diverse university populations and cultural contexts [ 10 , 11 , 12 ], highlighting the importance of understanding the factors that contribute to physical inactivity among this cohort globally.

Understanding the barriers and facilitators to PA in the context of the university setting is an important step in developing effective, targeted interventions to promote active lifestyles among university students. A recently published systematic review found that lack of time, motivation, access to places to practice PA, and financial resources were primary barriers to PA for undergraduate university students [ 13 ]. A corresponding and complementary synthesis of the facilitators of PA, however, has not yet been conducted. Such a synthesis would be valuable in enabling a comprehensive understanding of the factors that influence students' PA and identifying facilitators that could be leveraged in intervention design. Furthermore, applying theoretical frameworks to understand barriers and facilitators to PA can guide the development of theory-informed, evidence-based interventions for university students that purposely and effectively target factors that influence their participation in PA.

The Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) [ 14 , 15 , 16 ] and the COM-B model of behaviour [ 17 ] are two robust, gold-standard frameworks frequently used to examine the determinants of human behaviour. The TDF is an integrated framework of 14 theoretical domains (see Additional file 1 for domains, definitions, and constructs) which provide a comprehensive understanding of the key factors driving behaviour. The TDF was developed through expert consensus, synthesising 33 psychological theories (such as social cognitive theory [ 18 , 19 ] and the theory of planned behaviour [ 20 , 21 ] and 128 theoretical constructs (such as ‘competence’, ‘goal priority’, etc.) across disciplines identified as most relevant to the implementation of behaviour change interventions. Identifying the relative importance of theoretical domains allows intervention designers to triage which behaviour change strategies should be prioritised in intervention development [ 22 , 23 ]. The TDF has been widely applied by researchers and practitioners to systematically identify which theoretical domains are most relevant for understanding health behaviour change and policy implementation across a range of contexts, including education [ 24 ], healthcare [ 25 ], and workplace environments [ 26 ].

The 14 TDF domains map onto the COM-B model (Fig.  1 ), which is a broader framework for understanding behaviour and provides a direct link to intervention development frameworks. The COM-B model posits that no behaviour will occur without sufficient capability, opportunity, and motivation. Where any of these are lacking, they can be strategically targeted to support increased engagement in a desired behaviour, including participation in PA. Within the COM-B model, capability can be psychological (e.g., knowledge to engage in the necessary processes) or physical (e.g., physical skills); opportunity can be social (e.g., interpersonal influences) or physical (e.g., environmental resources); and motivation can be automatic (e.g., emotional reactions, habits) or reflective (e.g., intentions, beliefs). The COM-B model was developed through a process of theoretical analysis, empirical evidence, and expert consensus as a central part of a broader framework for developing behaviour change interventions known as the Behaviour Change Wheel (BCW) [ 17 ].

figure 1

The TDF domains linked to the COM-B model subcomponents

Note. Reproduced from Atkins, L., Francis, J., Islam, R., et al. (2017) A guide to using the Theoretical Domains Framework of behaviour change to investigate implementation problems. Implementation Science 12, 77.  https://doi.org/10.1186/s13012-017-0605-9

Using the TDF and COM-B model to understand the barriers and facilitators to university students’ participation in PA is valuable to inform the development of effective evidence-based interventions that are tailored to address the most influential determinants of behaviour change. As such, this systematic review aimed to: a) identify barriers and facilitators to university students’ participation in PA; b) map these factors using the TDF and COM-B model; and c) determine the relative importance of each TDF domain.

Study design

The systematic review was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) [ 27 ]. The review protocol was registered on PROSPERO (CRD42021242170).

Search strategy

Search terms and parameters were developed in collaboration with a Monash University librarian with expertise in systematic review methodology. The following databases were searched on 15.03.2023 to identify relevant literature: MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and SPORTDiscus. Key articles were also selected for citation searching via Scopus. In consultation with a librarian, these databases were selected due to their unique scope, relevance, broad coverage, and utility. This process ensured the identified literature aligned with the aim and research topic of our systematic review. A 01.01.2010—15.03.2023 publication period was purposefully specified to account for the significant advancements in digital fitness support and tracking tools within the past decade [ 28 ], All available records were searched using the following combination of concepts in the title or abstract of the article: 1) barriers, facilitators, or intervention, Footnote 1 2) physical activity, 3) university, and 4) students. Each search concept was created by first developing a list of search terms relevant to each concept (e.g., for the ‘physical activity’ concept search terms included ‘physical exercise’, ‘physical fitness’, ‘sports’, ‘inactive’, ‘sedentary’, etc.). To create each concept, search terms were then searched collectively using the operator ‘OR’. Each search concept was then combined into the final search by using the operator ‘AND’. Search terms related to concepts 1, 2 and 3 included indexed terms unique and relevant to each database (i.e., Medical Subject Heading Terms for MEDLINE, Index Terms for PsycINFO, and Thesaurus terms for SPORTDiscus). The search was performed according to Boolean operators (e.g., AND, OR) (see Additional file 2 for the complete search syntax for MEDLINE). Unpublished studies were not sought.

Selection criteria

Articles were included if they: (a) reported university students’ self-reported barriers and/or facilitators to physical activity or exercise Footnote 2 ; (b) were written in English; and (c) were peer-reviewed journal articles. Articles encompassed studies directly investigating barriers and/or facilitators to students’ participation in PA and physical exercise intervention studies, where the latter reported participants’ self-reported barriers and/or facilitators to intervention adherence (see Table  1 below for full criteria).

Study selection

Identified articles were uploaded to EndNote X9 software [ 30 ]. A duplication detection tool was used to detect duplicates, which were then screened for accuracy by CB prior to removal. The remaining articles were uploaded to Covidence to enable blind screening and conflict resolution. Articles were screened at the title and abstract level against the inclusion and exclusion criteria by author CB, and 25% were independently screened by BP. The full text of studies meeting the inclusion criteria was then screened against the same criteria by CB, and 25% were again independently screened by BP. Differences were resolved by an independent author (KR). Inter-rater agreement in screening between CB and BP was high (0.96 for title and abstract screening, 0.83 for full-text screening). The decision to dual-screen 25% of studies was strategically chosen to balance thoroughness with efficiency, ensuring both the validity of the screening criteria and the reliability of the primary screener’s decisions. This approach aligns with the protocols used in similar systematic reviews in the field (e.g., [ 31 , 32 ]).

Data extraction

Key article characteristics were extracted, including the author/s, year of publication, country of origin, participant characteristics (e.g., enrolment status, exercise engagement [if reported]), sample size, research design, methods, and analytical approach. Barriers and facilitators were also extracted for each article and subsequently coded according to the 14 domains of the TDF and six subcomponents of the COM-B model. Quantitative data were only extracted if ≥ 50% of students endorsed a factor as a barrier or facilitator. This cut-off criterion was applied to maintain focus on the most common variables of influence and aligns with other reviews synthesising common barriers and facilitators to behaviour change (e.g., [ 26 , 33 ]).

A coding manual was developed to guide the process of mapping barriers and facilitators to the TDF and COM-B. All articles were independently coded by at least two authors (CB and BS, BP or KR). The first version of the manual was developed a priori, based on established guides for applying the TDF and COM-B model to investigate barriers and facilitators to behaviour [ 14 , 34 ], and updated as needed via regular consultation with a co-author and TDF/COM-B designer LA to ensure the accuracy of the data extraction. Barriers and facilitators were only coded to multiple TDF domains if deemed essential to accurately contextualise the core elements of the barrier/facilitator, and when the data in individual papers was described in sufficient detail to indicate that more than one domain was relevant. For example, if ‘lack of time due to competing priorities’ was reported as a barrier to PA, this encompassed both the ‘environmental context and resources’ (i.e., time) and ‘goals’ (i.e., competing priorities) domains of the TDF. Coding conflicts were resolved via discussion with LA.

Data analysis

The following three-step method was utilised to synthesise quantitative and qualitative data:

Framework analysis [ 35 ] was conducted to deductively code barriers and facilitators onto TDF domains and COM-B subcomponents. This involved identifying barriers and facilitators in each article, extracting and labelling them, and determining their relevance against the definitions of the TDF domains and COM-B subcomponents. This process involved creating tables to assist in the systematic categorisation of barriers and facilitators into relevant TDF domains and COM-B subcomponents.

Within each TDF domain, thematic analysis [ 36 ] was conducted to group similar barriers and facilitators together and inductively generate summary theme labels.

The relative importance of each TDF domain was calculated according to frequency (number of studies), elaboration (number of themes) and the identification of mixed barriers/facilitators regarding whether a theme was a barrier or facilitator within each domain (e.g., if some participants reported that receiving encouragement from their family to exercise was a facilitator, and others reported that lack of encouragement from their family to exercise was a barrier). The rank order was determined first by frequency, then elaboration, and finally by mixed barriers/facilitators.

This methodology follows previous studies using the TDF and COM-B to characterise barriers and facilitators to behaviour change and rank their relative importance [ 22 , 23 ].

Study characteristics

Following the removal of duplicates, 6,152 articles met the search criteria and were screened based on title and abstract. A total of 5,995 articles were excluded because they did not meet the inclusion criteria (see Fig.  2 below for the PRISMA flowchart). After the title and abstract screening, 157 full-text articles were retrieved and assessed for eligibility. One additional article was identified and included following citation searching of selected key articles. Thirty-nine articles met the inclusion criteria (see Additional file 3 for a summary of these studies). Eight studies were conducted in the USA, seven in Canada, three in Germany, two each in Qatar, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom, and one each in Australia, Belgium, Columbia, Egypt, Ireland, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Uganda.

figure 2

PRISMA flowchart illustrating the article selection process

Relative importance of TDF domains and COM-B components

Twelve of the 14 TDF domains and all six subcomponents of the COM-B model were identified as relevant to university students' PA. The rank order of relative importance of TDF domains and associated COM-B subcomponents are presented in Table  2 . The three most important domains were identified in at least 54% of studies.

Barriers and facilitators to student’s physical activity

Within the TDF domains, 56 total themes were identified, including 26 mixed barriers/facilitators, 18 facilitators and 12 barriers (Table  3 ). The barriers and facilitators identified within each TDF domain are summarised below (with associated COM-B subcomponent presented in parentheses), in order of relative importance:

1. Environmental context and resources (Physical Opportunity) ( n  = 90% studies)

The most frequent barrier to PA across all TDF domains was ‘lack of time’, most often in the context of study demands. Time constraints were exacerbated by long commutes to university, family responsibilities, involvement in co-curricular activities, and employment commitments. Students’ need for ‘easily accessible exercise options, facilities and equipment’ was a recurring theme. PA was deemed inaccessible if exercise facilities and other infrastructure to support PA, such as bike paths and running trails, were situated too far from the university campus or students’ residences, or if fitness classes were scheduled at inconvenient times. ‘Financial costs’ emerged as a theme. The costs associated with accessing exercise facilities, equipment and programs consistently deterred students from engaging in PA. The desire for ‘safe and enjoyable’, ‘weather appropriate’ environments for PA were frequently reported. Participating in outdoor PA in green spaces or near water increased enjoyment, provided the environment felt safe and weather conditions were suitable for PA. Factors related to students’ home, work, and university environment impacted their participation in ‘incidental PA’. Incidental PA was influenced by whether students engaged in domestic house chores, and manual work, and actively commuted to university and between classes on-campus. Students’ ‘access to a variety of physical activities’ and ‘information provision regarding on-campus exercise options’ impacted their PA. Students most often had access to a wide variety of physical activities, however, it could be difficult to access information about what types of activities were available on-campus and how to sign up to participate. The ‘lack of personalised physical activities to cater to individual fitness needs’ was a barrier, particularly for students with low levels of PA who required beginner-oriented programs. Another barrier was the ‘lack of university policy and promotion to encourage PA’, which led students to perceive that there was no obligation to participate in PA and that the university did not value it. ‘Health-concerning behaviours associated with university’, including poor diet, increased alcohol intake and sedentary behaviour, negatively impacted students’ PA. ‘Listening to music while exercising’ was a facilitator.

2. Social influences (Social Opportunity) ( n  = 72% studies)

Within social influences, ‘exercising with others’ emerged as the most frequent theme. Doing so increased students’ accountability, enjoyment and motivation, and helped them to overcome feelings of intimidation when exercising alone. Having a lack of friends to exercise with was a particular concern for students who were new to exercise or infrequently participated in PA. Receiving ‘encouragement from others to be physically active’, such as family members, friends, peers, and fitness instructors, shaped students’ values toward PA and enhanced their motivation and self-efficacy. Students’ family members, friends and teachers discouraged PA if it was not valued, or in favour of other priorities, such as academic commitments. Another recurrent theme was ‘competition or relative comparison to others’. While most students were motivated by competition, a minority felt demotivated if they compared themselves to others with higher PA standards, especially if they failed to achieve similar PA goals. Sociocultural norms influenced barriers/facilitators to PA across different cultures, and between various groups, such as international versus domestic students, and women versus men. Students from Japan and Hawaii viewed PA as an important part of their culture, in contrast to students from the Philippines who described the opposite. Participation in PA enabled international students to integrate with domestic students and learn about the local culture, however cultural segregation was a barrier to participation in university team sports. For female students from some middle-eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar, cultural norms made it impermissible for women to engage in PA, particularly compared to men. Religion also differentially impacted barriers/facilitators between women and men. Muslim women reported that Islamic practices, such as needing to engage in PA separately from men, be accompanied by a male family member while going outdoors, or dress modestly, posed additional barriers to PA. However, one study reported that Islamic teachings generally encouraged PA for both women and men by emphasising the importance of maintaining good health. Other gender-specific barriers were identified. Women often felt unwelcome or intimidated by men in exercise facilities, partly due to the perception that these facilities were tailored toward “masculine” sports and/or dominated by men. ‘Being stared at while engaging in PA’ was another barrier, impacting both women and students with a disability. A less common facilitator was the influence of both positive and negative ‘exercise role models’. For example, students practiced PA because they aspired to be like someone who was physically active, or because they did not want to be like someone who was not physically active.

3. Goals (Reflective Motivation) ( n  = 54%)

‘Prioritisation of PA compared to other activities’ was the most common theme within goals. Students frequently prioritised other activities, such as study, social activities, or work, over PA. However, those who played team sports or regularly practiced PA were more inclined to prioritise it for its recognised health benefits (i.e., stress management), and its role in enhancing confidence. Additional facilitators included ‘engaging in PA to achieve an external goal’, such as improving one’s appearance, and ‘setting specific PA-related goals’ as a means to enhance accountability.

4. Intentions (Reflective Motivation) ( n  = 44%)

Within intentions, ‘motivation to engage in PA’ was the most common theme. Students most often noted a lack of self-motivation for PA. Less frequent barriers included perceiving PA as an obligatory or necessary "chore", and ‘failing to follow through on intentions to engage in PA’. Conversely, ‘self-discipline to engage in PA’ emerged as a facilitator that assisted students in maintaining a regular PA routine.

5. Reinforcement (Automatic Motivation) ( n  = 38%)

The most frequent facilitator within reinforcement was ‘experiencing the positive effects of PA’ on their health and wellbeing. These included physical health benefits (i.e., maintaining fitness), psychological benefits (i.e., stress reduction), and cognitive health benefits (i.e., enhanced academic performance). Conversely, barriers arose from ‘experiencing discomfort during or after PA’ due to pain, muscle soreness or fatigue. ‘Past and current habits and routines’ was a theme. Students were more likely to participate in PA if they had established regular exercise routines, and that forming these habits at an early age made it easier to maintain them later in life. However, maintaining a regular PA routine was difficult in the context of inflexible university schedules. Students’ ‘sense of accomplishment in relation to PA’ was a theme. Students were less likely to feel a sense of accomplishment after participating in PA if it was not physically challenging. Consistent facilitators were ‘receiving positive feedback from others’ after engaging in PA, such as compliments, and ‘receiving incentives’, such as reducing the cost of gym memberships if students participated in more PA. ‘Experiencing a sense of achievement’ after reaching a PA-related goal or winning a sports match also served as a facilitator.

6. Emotion (Automatic Motivation) ( n  = 38%)

‘Enjoyment’ was the most frequently cited emotional theme. Most students reported that PA was fun and/or associated with positive feelings, however, a minority described PA as unenjoyable, boring, and repetitive. Students’ ‘poor mental health and negative affectivity’ (such as feeling sad, stressed or self-conscious, as well as fear of injury and pain), adversely impacted their motivation to be physically active.

7. Beliefs about consequences (Reflective Motivation) ( n  = 31%)

‘Beliefs about the physical health consequences of PA’ was the most recurrent barrier/facilitator. Most students understood that PA was essential for maintaining good health and preventing illness. However, some students who rarely or never engaged in PA believed they could delay pursuing an active lifestyle until they were older without compromising their health. Participating in PA to ‘maintain or improve one’s physical appearance’ acted as a facilitator. This motivation was most often cited in contexts such as increasing or decreasing weight, changing body shape or enhancing muscle tone. Beliefs about the positive environmental, occupational and psychological impacts of PA also served as facilitators. Students were motivated to participate in PA due to the environmental benefits of using active transport. They also acknowledged the importance of being physically fit for work and believed that being active was beneficial for mental health. ‘Receiving advice to participate in PA from a credible source’, such as a health professional, further facilitated students’ motivation to be active.

8. Knowledge (Psychological Capability) ( n  = 28%)

'Knowledge about the benefits of PA’, encompassing an understanding of the various types of benefits (i.e., physical, mental, or cognitive) and the biological mechanisms by which PA brings about these changes was identified as the most common knowledge theme. Being aware of these benefits positively influenced students’ motivation to be physically active. Conversely, students’ lack of knowledge about the gym environment and the programs available were barriers to PA. Regarding the gym environment, students’ ‘lack of knowledge about how to navigate through the gym, what exercises to do, and how to use exercise equipment’ amplified feelings of intimidation. Likewise, ‘lack of knowledge about the types of exercise programs and activities that were available on-campus, and how to sign up to participate’ were all barriers. A unique theme emerged concerning ‘knowledge about how to adapt physical activities for students with a disability’. Students with a disability described how fitness instructors often had a limited understanding of how to modify activities to enable them to participate. However, students with a disability were able to overcome this barrier if they possessed their own knowledge about how to tailor physical activities to meet their specific needs.

9. Physical skills (Physical Capability) ( n  = 21%)

The most prevalent theme within physical skills was ‘having the physical skills and fitness to participate in PA’. A lack of physical skills was most frequently a hindrance to PA. Additional obstacles to PA included being physically inhibited due to a ‘lack of energy’ or ‘physical injury’.

10. Beliefs about capabilities (Reflective Motivation) ( n  = 18%)

Within beliefs about capabilities, ‘self-efficacy to participate in PA’ was the most recurrent theme. Students who doubted their success in becoming physically active or who lacked confidence in their ability to initiate PA or participate in sport were less motivated to take part. A less frequent facilitator was students’ ‘self-affirmation to participate in PA’, often referring to positive cognitions about one’s own physical abilities.

11. Cognitive and interpersonal skills (Psychological Capability) ( n  = 15%)

‘Time-management’ was the only theme identified within cognitive and interpersonal skills. Students who struggled to manage their time effectively found it difficult to incorporate regular PA into their daily routine.

12. Social/professional role and identity (Reflective Motivation) ( n  = 8%)

The most frequent theme within social/professional role and identity was ‘perceiving PA as a part of one’s self-identity’. Students who engaged regularly in PA often considered it integral to their identity. Conversely, students who perceived they did not align with the aesthetic and superficial stereotypes commonly associated with the fitness industry felt less motivated to be active. A specific facilitator emerged among physiotherapy students, who were motivated to be active due to the emphasis on PA within their profession.

13. Behavioural regulation (Psychological Capability) ( n  = 3%)

Within the domain of behavioural regulation, two facilitators were equally prevalent: ‘self-monitoring of PA’ and ‘feedback on progress towards a PA-related goal’. By keeping track of their step count and receiving feedback on walking goals, students were motivated to exceed the average number of daily steps or achieve their personal PA targets.

14. Memory, attention, and decision process (Psychological Capability); Optimism (Reflective Motivation) ( n  = 0%)

No barriers or facilitators relating to the TDF domains of memory, attention and decision process, or optimism were identified.

This systematic review used the TDF and COM-B model to identify barriers and facilitators to PA among university students and rank the relative importance of each TDF domain. It is the first review to apply these frameworks in the context of increasing university students’ participation in PA. Twelve TDF domains across all six sub-components of the COM-B model were identified. The three most important TDF domains were ‘environmental context and resources’, ‘social influences’, and ‘goals’. The most common barriers and facilitators were ‘lack of time’, ‘easily accessible exercise options, facilities and equipment’, ‘exercising with others’, and ‘prioritisation of PA compared to other activities’.

The most common barrier to PA was perceived lack of time. This is consistent with previous findings among university students [ 13 , 74 ] and across other populations [ 24 ], For students, lack of time was frequently attributed to a combination of competing priorities and underdeveloped time management skills. Students predominantly prioritised study over PA, as performing well at university is a valued goal and there is a common perception that spending time exercising (at the expense of study) will impede their academic success [ 53 , 58 ]. Evidence from cognitive neuroscience research, however, suggests that this is a mistaken belief. In addition to its broad physical and mental health benefits, a growing body of evidence demonstrates regular PA can change the structure and function of the brain.

These changes can, in turn, enhance numerous aspects of cognition, including memory, attention, and processing speed [ 4 , 75 , 76 , 77 ], and buffer the negative impact of stress on cognition [ 78 ], all of which are important for academic success. However, students are typically unaware of the brain and cognitive health benefits of PA and its potential to improve academic performance, particularly compared to the physical health benefits [ 37 , 40 , 64 ]. Interventions that position participating in PA as a conduit for helping, rather than hindering, academic goals could increase the relative importance of PA to students and therefore increase their motivation to regularly engage in it. The impact that interventions of this nature have on students’ PA is yet to be empirically assessed.

Ineffective time management also contributed to students’ perceived lack of time for PA. Students reported tendencies to procrastinate in the face of overwhelming academic workloads, which left limited time for PA [ 53 ]. Additionally, students lacked an understanding of how to organise time for PA around academic timetables, social and family responsibilities, co-curricular activities, and employment commitments [ 9 , 44 , 53 , 59 ]. To address these challenges, efforts to develop students’ time management skills will be useful for enabling students to regularly participate in PA. Goal-setting and action planning are two specific examples of such skills that can be integrated into interventions to help students initiate and maintain a PA routine [ 79 ]. For example, goal-setting could involve setting a daily PA goal, and action planning could involve planning to engage in a particular PA at a particular time on certain days.

While the most common determinants of university students’ PA levels were not influenced by specific demographic characteristics, several barriers disproportionately impacted women and students with a disability. These findings are in keeping with evidence that PA is lower among these equity-deserving groups compared with the general population [ 68 , 80 ]. For women, particularly those from Middle Eastern cultures, restrictions were often tied to religious practices and sociocultural norms that limited their opportunities to engage in PA [ 45 , 48 , 66 ]. Additionally, a substantial number of women felt intimidated or self-conscious when exercising in front of others, especially men [ 48 , 49 ]. They also felt that exercise facilities were more often tailored towards the needs of men, leading to a perception that they were unwelcome in exercise communities [ 45 , 48 ]. Consequently, women expressed a desire for women-only spaces to exercise to help them overcome these gender-specific barriers to PA [ 47 , 48 , 66 ]. Furthermore, students with a disability faced physical accessibility barriers and perceived stigmatisation that deterred them from PA [ 50 , 52 ]. The lack of accessible exercise facilities and suitable equipment, programs, and education regarding how to adapt physical activities to accommodate their needs limited their opportunity and ability to participate [ 52 ]. Moreover, students with a disability felt stigmatised by others for not fitting into public perceptions of ‘normality’ or the aesthetic values and beauty standards often portrayed by the fitness industry [ 50 ]. These barriers for both equity-deserving groups of students are deeply rooted in historical stereotypes that have traditionally excluded women and people with a disability from engaging in various types of PA [ 81 , 82 ]. Despite growing awareness of these issues, PA inequalities persist due to narrow sociocultural norms, and a lack of diverse representation and inclusion in the fitness industry and associated marketing campaigns [ 83 , 84 ]. A concerted effort to address PA inequalities across the university sector and fitness industry more broadly is needed. One approach for achieving this is to develop interventions that are tailored to the unique needs of equity-deserving groups, emphasise inclusivity, diversity, and empowerment, and feature women and people with a disability being active.

The “This Girl Can” [ 85 ] and “Everyone Can” [ 86 ] multimedia campaigns are two examples of health behaviour interventions that were co-developed with key stakeholders (i.e., women and people with a disability, respectively) to tackle PA inequalities. The “This Girl Can” campaign has reached over 3 million women and girls, projecting inclusive and positive messages that aim to empower them to be physically active. Following the widespread reach of the “This Girl Can” campaign, the “Everybody Can” campaign was launched to support the inclusion of people with a disability in the PA sector. Although not tailored for university students, these campaigns provide a useful example for developing interventions that are specifically designed to address key barriers preventing women and people with a disability from participating in PA.

Across the tertiary education sector globally, efforts to elevate opportunities and motivation to include PA as a core part of the student experience will be beneficial for promoting students’ PA at scale. Two intervention approaches that can be implemented to facilitate such an endeavour are environmental restructuring and enablement [ 17 ]. These intervention approaches should involve the provision of accessible low-cost exercise options, facilities, and programs, integrating PA into the university curriculum, and mobilising student and staff leadership to encourage students’ participation in PA [ 9 ]. Although there is evidence that these approaches can be effective in promoting sustained PA throughout students’ university years and beyond [ 87 ], implementation measures such as these are complex. Implementation requires aligning student activity levels with broader university goals and is further complicated by having to compete with other funding priorities and resource allocations. Notably, due to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on university students’ physical and mental health [ 88 , 89 ], the post-pandemic era has seen many universities prioritise enhancing student health and wellbeing alongside more traditional strategic goals like academic excellence and workforce readiness. Despite the potential for PA to be used as a vehicle for supporting these strategic goals there is an absence of data on the extent to which this is occurring in the university sector. The limited evidence in this area suggests that some universities have made efforts to support students’ mental health by referring students who access on-campus counselling services to PA programs [ 90 ]. However, the uptake and efficacy of such initiatives is rarely assessed, and even less is known about whether PA is being used to support other strategic goals, such as academic success. Therefore, while the potential is there for the university sector to use PA to support students’ mental health and academic performance, to be successful this needs to become a strategic university priority. Given that these strategic priorities are set at the senior leadership level, engaging senior university staff in intervention design and promotion efforts is important to enhance the value of PA in the tertiary education sector.

Implications for intervention development

The current findings provide a high-level synthesis of the most common barriers and facilitators to university students’ physical activity. These findings can be leveraged with behavioural intervention development tools and frameworks (e.g., the BCW [ 17 ], Obesity-Related Behavioural Intervention Trials model [ 91 ], Intervention Mapping [ 92 ], and the Medical Research Council guidelines for developing complex interventions [ 93 , 94 ]) to develop evidence-based interventions and policies to promote PA. Given that the TDF and COM-B model are directly linked to the BCW framework, applying this process may be particularly useful to translate the current findings into an intervention.

Additionally, current findings can be triangulated with data directly collected from key stakeholders to assist in the development of context-specific interventions. Best practice principles for developing behavioural interventions recommend this approach to ensure a deep understanding of the barriers and facilitators that need to be targeted to increase the likelihood of behaviour change [ 17 ]. Consulting stakeholders directly (i.e., university students and staff) to understand their perspectives on the barriers and facilitators to students’ PA also enables an intervention to be appropriately tailored to the target population’s needs and implementation setting. Studies continue to demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach, especially when framed within the context of frameworks directly linked to intervention development frameworks, such as the TDF [ 95 ].

Strengths and limitations

The findings of this review should be considered with respect to its methodological strengths and limitations. The credibility and reliability of the research findings are supported by a systematic approach to screening and analysing the empirical data, along with the use of gold-standard behavioural science frameworks to classify barriers and facilitators to PA. The inclusion of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods studies of both barriers and facilitators to students’ PA allowed for a comprehensive understanding of the factors that influence students’ PA that have not previously been captured.

While the present review elucidates students’ own perspectives of the factors that influence their activity levels, other stakeholders such as university staff, will also influence the adoption, operationalisation, and scale of PA interventions in a university setting. It will be important for future research to explore factors that influence university decision-makers in these roles to inform large-scale strategies for promoting students' PA.

Additionally, only one study included in the review used the TDF to explore barriers and facilitators to PA [ 47 ]. Therefore, it is possible that certain TDF domains may not have been identified because students were not asked relevant questions to assess the influence of those domains on their PA. For instance, domains such as ‘memory, attention, and decision process’, and ‘optimism’ are likely to play a role in understanding the barriers and facilitators to PA despite not being identified in this review.

Moreover, quantitative data were only extracted if ≥ 50% of students endorsed the factor as a barrier or facilitator to PA. This threshold was purposefully applied to maintain a focus on the TDF domains most universally relevant to the broad student population in the context of understanding their barriers and facilitators to PA. It is possible that less frequently reported barriers and facilitators, which may not be as prominently featured in the results, could be relevant to specific groups of students, such as those identified as equity-deserving.

Lastly, a quality appraisal of the included studies was not undertaken. This decision was informed by the aim of the review, which was to describe and synthesise the literature to subsequently map data to the TDF and COM-B rather than assess the effectiveness of interventions or determine the strength of evidence. However, this decision, combined with dual screening 25% of the studies and excluding unpublished studies and grey literature, may introduce sources of error and bias, which should be considered when interpreting the results presented.

PA is an effective, scalable, and empowering means of enhancing physical, mental, and cognitive health. This approach could help students reach their academic potential and cope with the many stressors that accompany student life, in addition to setting a strong foundation for healthy exercise habits for a lifetime. As such, understanding the barriers and facilitators to an active student lifestyle is beneficial. This systematic review applied the TDF and COM-B model to identify and map students’ barriers and facilitators to PA and, in doing so, provides a pragmatic, theory-informed, and evidence-based foundation for designing future context-specific PA interventions. The findings from this review highlight the importance of developing PA interventions that focus on the TDF domains ‘environmental context and resources’, ‘social influences’, and ‘goals’, for which intervention approaches could involve environmental restructuring, education, and enablement. If successful, such strategies could make a significant contribution to improving the overall health and academic performance of university students.

Availability of data and materials

The review protocol is available on PROSPERO. The datasets used and/or analysed during the current study and materials used are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

The term ‘intervention’ was included to identify student barriers and facilitators to engaging in implemented physical activity interventions.

Physical exercise is defined as “a subset of physical activity that is planned, structured, and repetitive”, and purposefully focused on the improvement or maintenance of physical fitness, whereas physical activity is defined as “any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure” [ 96 ].

Abbreviations

Behaviour Change Wheel

Capability, Opportunity, Model-Behaviour

  • Physical activity

Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses

International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews

Theoretical Domains Framework

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Acknowledgements

The authors extend their gratitude to the funder, the nib foundation, for its financial support, which was instrumental in facilitating this research. We are also indebted to the Wilson Foundation and the David Winston Turner Endowment Fund for their generous philanthropic contributions, which have supported the BrainPark research team and facility where this research was conducted. Special thanks are owed to the library staff at Monash University for their expertise in conducting systematic reviews, which helped inform the selection of databases and the development of the search strategy.

This research was supported by nib foundation. The nib foundation had no role in the design of the study and collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, and in writing the manuscript. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the nib foundation.

Author information

Murat Yücel and Rebecca A. Segrave share senior authorship.

Authors and Affiliations

BrainPark, Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Catherine E. B. Brown, Karyn Richardson, Bengianni Halil-Pizzirani & Rebecca A. Segrave

Centre for Behaviour Change, University College London, London, UK

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Herston, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Murat Yücel

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Contributions

CB, KR, BP, LA and RS developed the review protocol. CB and BP conducted the search and screened articles, and KR resolved conflicts. CB, KR, BP, LA and RS extracted the barriers and facilitators, mapped barriers and facilitators to the TDF and COM-B model, and interpreted the results. CB drafted the paper. All authors read, revised, and approved the submitted version.

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Correspondence to Catherine E. B. Brown .

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Brown, C.E.B., Richardson, K., Halil-Pizzirani, B. et al. Key influences on university students’ physical activity: a systematic review using the Theoretical Domains Framework and the COM-B model of human behaviour. BMC Public Health 24 , 418 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-023-17621-4

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Citizens’ perspectives on relocating care: a scoping review

  • L. J. Damen 1 ,
  • L. H. D. Van Tuyl 1 ,
  • J. C. Korevaar 1 , 3 ,
  • B. J. Knottnerus 1 &
  • J. D. De Jong 1 , 2  

BMC Health Services Research volume  24 , Article number:  202 ( 2024 ) Cite this article

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Healthcare systems around the world are facing large challenges. There are increasing demands and costs while at the same time a diminishing health workforce. Without reform, healthcare systems are unsustainable. Relocating care, for example, from hospitals to sites closer to patients’ homes, is expected to make a key contribution to keeping healthcare sustainable. Given the significant impact of this initiative on citizens, we conducted a scoping review to provide insight into the factors that influence citizens’ attitudes towards relocating care.

A scoping review was conducted. The search was performed in the following databases: Pubmed, Embase, Cinahl, and Scopus. Articles had to include relocating healthcare and citizens’ perspectives on this topic and the articles had to be about a European country with a strong primary care system. After applying the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 70 articles remained.

Factors positively influencing citizens’ attitudes towards relocating care included: convenience, familiarity, accessibility, patients having more control over their disease, and privacy. Factors influencing negative attitudes included: concerns about the quality of care, familiarity, the lack of physical examination, contact with others, convenience, and privacy. Furthermore, in general, most citizens preferred to relocate care in the studies we found, especially from the hospital to care provided at home.

Several factors influencing the attitude of citizens towards relocating care were found. These factors are very important when determining citizens’ preferences for the location of their healthcare. The majority of studies in this review reported that citizens are in favour of relocating care. In general citizens’ perspectives on relocating care are very often missing in articles. It was significant that very few studies on relocation from the hospital to the general practitioner were identified.

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Introduction

Demand for healthcare is increasing across the world due to a number of developments including populations ageing, technical advances in medical care, and rising incomes [ 1 , 2 , 3 ]. With an increase in demand, costs will also rise, while at the same time a diminishing health workforce. [ 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 ]. Consequently, reforms within the healthcare system will be necessary in order to control increasing healthcare costs and staff shortages [ 1 , 2 , 3 ]. It is assumed that reforming healthcare systems with a view to making better use of resources will make a key contribution to keeping healthcare sustainable. Estimates suggest that one fifth of health spending could be channelled towards better use, thus improving healthcare efficiency [ 6 ]. Increased efficiency could be accomplished in several ways. These may include: reducing the number of patients who receive low-value or unnecessary care; providing the same care with fewer resources, for instance by providing care in more cost-effective settings rather than in hospitals; or by reducing administrative processes that add no value [ 6 ]. This article focuses on providing care with fewer resources by relocating it to more cost-effective settings. This, in the first instance, would mean from secondary care to primary care. The thought behind this is that general practitioners (GPs) can generally provide care at less expense than hospitals for certain procedures that do not need hospital staff or environment [ 6 ]. These may include minor interventions, such as the placement of an intra-uterine device (IUD), or follow-up care, such as yearly blood- and ultrasounds, for patients who have been treated for cancer[ 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 ]. Relocating care to control costs could also include relocating care from secondary to homecare, self-care or eHealth [ 10 ]. Delivering care digitally can prevent a patient from having to go to the hospital. For example, an app could be used to monitor a patient receiving oxygen at home. Care commonly provided by the GP could also be relocated, to self-care, eHealth or to other healthcare providers (HCPs), like a physiotherapist or dietitian. This could result in more time for the GP to take on other secondary or primary care tasks.

It is important for relocating care to succeed, to get insights into the perspectives and needs of healthcare providers and citizens. Although involving citizens is a very important aspect of policy-making processes, it is an often overlooked form of evidence according to the World Health Organization (WHO) [ 11 ]. Citizen engagement will strengthen societal trust, will lead to more effective public policies and will lead to an improved quality of care. Furthermore, citizen engagement is essential because healthcare systems are transitioning towards a patient-centered approach, where citizens' perspectives on quality are inherently meaningful and should be a primary focus within healthcare systems [ 12 ].Extensive research has already been undertaken regarding the perspective of healthcare providers [ 9 , 13 , 14 , 15 , 16 ], the quality and outcomes of care [ 17 , 18 , 19 , 20 ] and the cost perspectives [ 10 , 17 , 18 , 20 , 21 ], but not regarding the citizens' perspective on relocating care. To our knowledge, a review about citizens’ perspectives on relocating care does not exist yet. We have, therefore, conducted a scoping review with the goal of describing the findings and range of research concerning citizens’ perspectives on relocating care in more detail. A strong primary care system is required to make relocating care possible [ 6 ]. We, therefore, searched for studies that were undertaken in countries in Europe with a strong primary care [ 22 ]. Table 1 describes the characteristics of countries with strong primary care. The research questions answered in this review are: (1) Which factors influence citizens’ attitudes towards relocating care? (2) What are citizens’ preferences towards the location of care?

The aim of this review is to understand citizens’ attitudes and preferences towards relocating care. As this topic is quite broad and may be studied using many different study designs, and considering that we are not aware of any prior synthesis on this topic, a scoping review rather than a systematic review was conducted. This scoping review was carried out on the basis of the guideline by Arksey and O’Malley [ 23 ]. The review includes the following key phases: 1) identifying the research question; 2) identifying relevant studies; 3) study selection; 4) charting the data, and; 5) collating, summarising, and reporting the results.

The search strategy and selection of literature

An initial broad search of the literature was undertaken by the first author in order to identify relevant articles that could be used for designing a search strategy. During this search, 18 key articles were identified, which included citizens, preference, and relocating care, these three terms formed the basis of our search strategy. A qualified medical information specialist was consulted in order to design and execute a sensitive search strategy. The medical information specialist also advised on which databases were most likely to contain the type of studies we were seeking and thus constituted an initial search strategy. This was refined several times after consultation. The final version was first used on the Pubmed database and then converted for each of these subsequent databases, Embase, Cinahl, and Scopus. The final search strategy, shown in Appendix A , was able to find 16 out of the 18 key articles identified. In total, it identified 19.587 articles. Duplicate references were removed, leaving 11.080 unique references. The most recent search was executed on 5 July 2022.

The selection process was performed by all authors. First, inclusion and exclusion criteria were developed. There were several inclusion criteria for this scoping review. The topic of the articles had to be citizens’ perspectives on relocating care. Only articles related to European countries with strong primary care systems were included, as a strong primary care system is required to make relocating care possible [ 6 ]. These countries were: the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Denmark, and Slovenia [ 22 ]. Only articles written in English, Dutch, or German were included as these were languages sufficiently mastered by the authors. In addition, all study designs were included. An overview of inclusion and exclusion criteria are shown in Table  2 . In order to calibrate the inclusion process, the researchers independently applied the inclusion and exclusion criteria to a selection of three hundred articles. The task was to include, or exclude, articles based on the title alone. The results were discussed by the researchers to see if there was a maximum margin of disagreement up to 10%. This percentage was agreed in advance by the researchers. During this process, the inclusion and exclusion criteria were further refined (See Table  2 ). As disagreement remained, a second round of calibration was performed on 50 articles, including both titles and abstracts. The disagreement rate was now only 4% and therefore all the remaining articles were distributed among the reviewers to be scored, based on the title and abstract. After screening on the title and abstract, 167 references remained and two key articles that were not found with the search were added. These articles were distributed among the researchers once more in order to read the full text. While reading the full texts, another three relevant articles were identified through the references. These were then added too. This resulted in a total of 172 full text articles. Results from included articles were charted in a spreadsheet, which was tested by the researchers before using it. When one of the reviewers had doubts about an article, it was read by a second reviewer and the outcomes were discussed until the two researchers came to an agreement.

Data extraction

A spreadsheet was created to categorise the information that contributed to answering the research questions.

The information extracted from the articles was structured according to the type of relocation, including: relocating from the hospital to the GP, to care at home, to self-care, or to eHealth, and relocating from the GP to self-care, to care at home, or to eHealth. The difference between self-care and care at home is that self-care does not involve a healthcare provider, unlike care at home. Both forms of relocating do not involve eHealth. When the article was about eHealth it was catalogued with the eHealth category. Articles that remained, of which there was only one, were placed within the category ‘other’.

The information extracted included factors that determined citizens’ attitudes towards relocating care. All of these factors were coded by highlighter and categorised. The categories were discussed within the research team. Subsequently, we made a top three of factors for each form of relocation that occurred most often.

Furthermore, we extracted information regarding preferences for healthcare location in the articles. Citizens could have a preference for either keeping care its current location, relocating care, or a combination of both, suggesting that citizens may prefer a hybrid approach where some aspects of healthcare are relocated, while others remain in their current location. Citizens could also express equal preferences for both locations. In addition, we compared the outcomes of the one-armed, the two-armed, and the hypothetical studies, to see if there were major differences, in the preferences for healthcare location, resulting from their methodological approaches. In the one-armed studies, care was relocated for all participants in the study [ 24 ]. In the two-armed studies there was one group of participants where care was relocated, but also one group who received care as usual. The outcomes of the two groups were then compared. Hypothetical studies, presented scenarios without actual choices. They asked citizens how they would feel if care were relocated. Two-armed studies are generally considered of higher quality than one-armed and hypothetical studies, due to the presence of both an experimental group and a control group, which increases their internal validity [ 25 ].

Search flow

A total of 19,587 references were identified from the databases, of which 8,507 were duplicates, as shown in Fig.  1 . At the end of the selection process, 70 full text articles were included. The characteristics of these studies are shown in Table  3 .

figure 1

Flowchart of the review process

The majority of studies of citizens’ perspectives on relocating care took place in the UK ( N  = 44), followed by the Netherlands ( N  = 13), and Denmark ( N  = 11). One study is from Spain and one from Estonia. Most studies are one-armed ( N  = 42), followed by two-armed ( n  = 19), and nine studies were hypothetical. While eight studies are from 2013, most studies were published quite recently in 2019 ( N  = 7), 2020 ( N  = 6), 2021 ( N  = 16), and 2022 ( N  = 9). Relocating care from the hospital to eHealth is the form of relocating that is most often examined within the studies identified ( N  = 28) [ 26 , 27 , 28 , 29 , 30 , 31 , 32 , 33 , 34 , 35 , 36 , 37 , 38 , 39 , 40 , 41 , 42 , 43 , 44 , 45 , 46 , 47 , 48 , 49 , 50 , 51 , 52 , 53 ]. This is followed by relocating from the hospital to self-care ( N  = 15) [ 54 , 55 , 56 , 57 , 58 , 59 , 60 , 61 , 62 , 63 , 64 , 65 , 66 , 67 ] and care at home ( N  = 13) [ 30 , 68 , 69 , 70 , 71 , 72 , 73 , 74 , 75 , 76 , 77 , 78 , 79 , 80 ]. Forms of relocating care that are not frequently studied include relocating from the hospital to the GP ( N  = 7) [ 16 , 69 , 81 , 82 , 83 , 84 , 85 ] and from the GP to self-care ( N  = 4) [ 86 , 87 , 88 , 89 ]. Five more forms of relocating are listed under the heading “other”. These include: relocating from the hospital to a community-based clinic [ 90 ]; from outpatient visits to a one-stop clinic [ 91 ]; nurse home visits that were replaced by eHealth [ 92 ]; hospital care relocated to a mobile chemotherapy unit [ 93 ]; and, care relocated from the GP to eHealth [ 94 ]. Most studies are about the relocation of care for oncology patients ( N  = 19), followed by citizens in general ( N  = 10), and cardiology patients ( N  = 8).

Which factors influence citizens’ attitudes towards relocating care?

Convenience.

The most frequently cited factors influencing citizens’ attitudes towards relocating care are shown in Table  4 . Convenience was most often reported, from the citizens’ perspective, as an advantage of relocating care. This was true for all forms of relocation [ 27 , 28 , 29 , 30 , 32 , 33 , 34 , 38 , 41 , 42 , 45 , 47 , 49 , 52 , 53 , 54 , 58 , 59 , 60 , 65 , 66 , 67 , 69 , 70 , 73 , 78 , 82 , 84 , 85 , 86 , 88 , 90 , 93 , 94 ]. Citizens think of relocating as convenient because in most cases it saves travel time [ 26 , 29 , 53 ]. It saves costs [ 26 , 69 ]. It avoids stress due to factors such as transport problems, busy traffic, travelling while you are sick, or long sojourns in waiting rooms [ 26 , 53 , 73 , 93 ]. When relocating to self-care it was very often mentioned that it is an advantage to have more flexibility [ 30 , 86 ]. Citizens can do a self-test whenever and wherever they want, without having to consider opening hours, for example [ 59 , 66 , 67 ]. Convenience was also mentioned as a reason for not wanting to relocate care. This factor was especially mentioned when relocating from the hospital or GP to self-care [ 59 , 60 , 86 ]. With regard to home dialysis, some citizens said that they did not have the space at home to do this. It was, therefore, not convenient [ 60 ]. In addition, for citizens living close to the hospital, self-care was sometimes more expensive and did not save time [ 59 , 86 ].

Familiarity

Familiarity was another factor which was reported as important to citizens regarding their attitude towards relocating care [ 29 , 30 , 31 , 32 , 33 , 58 , 61 , 67 , 68 , 69 , 70 , 73 , 74 , 77 , 83 , 84 , 85 , 86 , 90 , 94 ]. Some citizens feel more familiar with their GP than with a hospital specialist and would, therefore, want to relocate care [ 83 , 84 ]. Other citizens experience a sense of familiarity due to the environment in which care is provided. When receiving care at home, citizens feel more familiar, because they are in their own environment with their own support system [ 29 , 30 , 50 , 58 , 70 , 77 ]. In addition, when receiving care at home, the HCP enters the personal space of the patient. This, according to some of the patients, provided a better and more personal connection with the HCP. As shown in Table  4 , familiarity is also named as a reason not to want to relocate. While some citizens said that they had a better relationship with their GP, others said they were more familiar with the specialist so they would rather go there [ 85 ]. Some citizens thought that personal contact was reduced when using eHealth. They felt that it was more distant [ 31 , 33 , 36 , 47 , 51 ]. In addition, during telephone consultations, citizens did not feel a sense of familiarity if they had never seen the HCP before and therefore could not picture the face belonging to the voice. [ 29 ]. With regard to self-care, some citizens did not feel a sense of familiarity because this care is usually performed alone, while they preferred to have the support of a HCP [ 60 , 63 ].

Accessibility

The third most frequently mentioned factor that influenced citizens’ perceptions of relocating care was “accessibility”. Citizens were more willing to relocate care when waiting times became shorter and so the accessibility became better [ 28 , 29 , 30 , 45 , 49 , 54 , 58 , 82 , 83 , 84 , 88 , 90 , 91 , 93 ]. For example when relocating from the hospital to the GP [ 82 , 83 , 84 ]. Regarding self-tests, citizens mentioned that they had very rapid access. They can pick up the test and then apply it directly, without having to make an appointment with a HCP, who is often not immediately available [ 30 , 54 , 55 , 58 ]. In addition, with a self-test you often get the results without delay [ 55 , 59 ]. With regard to eHealth, citizens said that access to the HCP improved because they could contact them easily when they had questions [ 28 , 49 ].

Patients have more control

Another advantage of relocating care, mentioned by citizens, is being more in control, especially when relocating care from the hospital to eHealth, self-care, or to care at home [ 30 , 54 , 58 , 60 , 70 , 73 ]. The sense of increased control can stem from two primary factors. Firstly, patients become more actively engaged in their healthcare, leading to a better understanding of their diagnoses and consequently, greater control over their condition [ 38 , 49 , 53 , 59 , 86 ]. Secondly, citizens felt more involved in the process of decision making regarding their healthcare, affording them the ability to influence what happens and when [ 49 , 50 , 59 , 74 ]. This gives them the feeling of having more control over their lives.

The last factor named as an advantage, but also as a disadvantage of relocating care, is ‘privacy’. Citizens who saw it as an advantage mentioned that there is more privacy at home using eHealth or self-care than there is in a hospital [ 53 , 54 , 55 , 58 , 60 , 66 , 69 , 70 , 74 ]. With regard to self-care there are a lot of articles about using self-tests to check for sexually transmitted infections or about administering drugs oneself at home in order to induce an abortion. Citizens indicated that having such tests carried out at a clinic may cause a lot of embarrassment [ 54 ]. You may run into acquaintances for example [ 67 ]. Self-care, on the other hand, is more anonymous and thus offers more privacy [ 55 ]. However, privacy is also named as an disadvantage by citizens. Regarding eHealth, some citizens are concerned about whether the privacy of their data can be guaranteed [ 33 ]. In addition, some citizens said that it was hard to find a private space in their house during the covid-19 crisis [ 30 ]. Furthermore, when care is being given at home, some citizens do not like the fact that other family members may witness them being treated [ 69 ] or that caregivers are having to enter their home, thus violating their privacy [ 70 ].

Quality of care

The most frequently mentioned factor for having a negative attitude towards relocating care is that citizens have concerns about the quality of care when care is being relocated, due to less expertise of the HCP or insufficient quality of the instrument or self-test, which will be involved in the new location [ 28 , 32 , 33 , 34 , 36 , 47 , 51 , 54 , 55 , 59 , 60 , 63 , 65 , 67 , 69 , 70 , 73 , 77 , 82 , 85 , 86 , 87 , 90 , 94 ]. Regarding relocating care to eHealth or self-care a lack of trust in eHealth technology [ 33 , 34 , 36 , 47 ], or a particular self-care device, [ 54 , 55 , 59 , 60 , 63 , 65 , 67 ] was reported very often. Citizens fear technical problems or that important factors might be overlooked. Neither do some citizens feel that they have the right skills for using the new eHealth technology [ 36 ] or performing self-care in the right way [ 54 , 60 , 65 , 67 ]. Regarding care at home, citizens were concerned with the absence of constant surveillance and a diminished contact with the doctor. Moreover, citizens felt that the hospital is better equipped [ 77 ]. With regard to relocating from the hospital to the GP, some citizens thought that the specialist had more expertise which was a reason for them not wanting to relocate [ 82 , 85 ].

No physical examination

Another factor for not wanting to relocate care is where it results in an absence of physical examination. This reason was named many times when relocating care from the hospital to eHealth [ 27 , 29 , 31 , 34 , 47 , 51 , 52 ] and relocating from the GP to self-care [ 86 , 89 ]. With regard to eHealth, some citizens say that they found it difficult because they are not able to demonstrate physical symptoms and they find it hard to describe problems without seeing the HCP [ 31 , 33 ].

Contact with others

The last factor, frequently mentioned as a disadvantage of relocating care, is less contact with their peers. This aspect was most mentioned regarding relocating from the hospital to care at home [ 69 , 70 , 73 ]. Some citizens enjoyed going to the hospital because of the social interaction with other citizens. They were afraid of social isolation [ 60 ].

What are citizens’ preferences regarding the location of care?

A total of 49 articles investigated citizens’ preferences regarding the location of healthcare. Their location preferences for each form of relocating care will be discussed below and are shown in Table  5 .

Within the articles about relocating from the hospital to eHealth, 23 articles out of 28 provided the preferences of respondents towards the location of care. In ten articles there was a preference for eHealth [ 28 , 32 , 33 , 34 , 42 , 44 , 45 , 46 , 50 , 53 ] and in six articles a preference for the hospital [ 26 , 31 , 36 , 39 , 43 , 48 ]. In four articles, citizens expressed a wish for a combination of eHealth and face to face contact [ 37 , 47 , 49 , 52 ]. In the remaining articles ( N  = 3), the preference was equal for the hospital and for eHealth [ 35 , 41 , 51 ].

Eight out of 15 articles about relocating from the hospital to self-care investigated citizens preferences for the location of care. In five articles citizens showed a preference for self-care [ 56 , 57 , 61 , 64 , 66 ] and in three articles for the hospital [ 55 , 60 , 65 ].

With regard to articles about relocating from the hospital to care at home, ten out of 13 articles investigated a preference for healthcare location. In eight articles, the participants had a preference for care at home [ 68 , 69 , 72 , 74 , 75 , 78 , 79 , 80 ]. In two articles, preferences for care at home and the hospital were equal [ 71 , 76 ]. There were no articles with a preference for the hospital.

Regarding relocating from the hospital to the GP, there were five out of seven articles investigating citizens preferences regarding healthcare location. In two articles, participants preferred the hospital over the GP [ 81 , 85 ]. In one they preferred the GP [ 84 ], and in the other, preferences were equal [ 16 ]. In the fifth study citizens could choose between three locations: the hospital, the GP, or care at Home. Here they preferred care at home followed by care at the general practice [ 69 ].

Two out of four articles about relocating from the GP to self-care investigated a preference for a healthcare location. In one article, citizens preferred self-care [ 86 ], and in the other, they preferred the GP [ 89 ].

Within the category “other”, there were two articles which investigated a preference for a healthcare location. In the article about relocating from the hospital to one-and-a-half line care, citizens preferred one-and-a-half line care [ 91 ]. The last article was about nurse home visits that were relocated to eHealth. Here, citizens preferred eHealth over the nurse visits [ 93 ].

Most articles adopted a one-armed approach. Since two-armed articles are often of higher quality, we compared the results of the one-armed, and the two-armed, articles. In total there were 19 two-armed articles of which 14 investigated a preference for healthcare location. In nine out of 14 articles citizens preferred relocating healthcare and in two articles they did not. In the other articles, preferences were equal. Of the 35 one-armed articles which investigated healthcare preferences in 18 articles, citizens gave a preference for relocating healthcare. Thus, in both cases, there is a preference for relocating care in just over half of the articles. We see here a different outcome than with the hypothetical studies ( N  = 10). Here there was no preference for relocating care in five out of seven articles.

This scoping review was conducted in order to provide insight into the factors that influence citizens attitudes towards relocating care. Seventy articles were included and most which were found were about relocating care from the hospital to eHealth. Most of these articles about eHealth were published in 2020 or later ( N  = 20). Only eight articles were published in 2019 or earlier. This is likely due to covid-19, which started in 2020 in Europe and required healthcare providers in many places to offer care online.

The first research question concerned which factors influence citizens attitudes towards relocating care. The most frequent reported factor for a positive attitude towards relocating care is “convenience”, according to citizens, followed by “familiarity”. Other factors that were in the top three of reasons for a positive attitude towards relocating care were “accessibility”, “patients have more control”, and “privacy”. The positive drivers for relocating care are almost the same for all forms of relocating. The two most mentioned factors for a negative attitude towards relocating care are, first of all, citizens having concerns about the quality of care and, secondly, citizens feel less familiar when care is being relocated. Other reasons to have a negative attitude towards relocating are “the lack of physical examination”, “contact with others”, “convenience”, and “privacy”.

The second research question concerned citizens’ preferences for healthcare location. In general, as far as the conditions and treatments mentioned in the articles are concerned, most citizens favoured relocating healthcare. Especially with regard to care at home, there were no articles found where citizens had a preference for the hospital instead of care at home. In addition, eHealth and self-care are also carried out from home. Citizens thus prefer receiving care at home.

Not all articles investigated preferences for the location of healthcare, and of those which did, most were one-armed. However, there were no major differences found when comparing the outcomes of the one-armed and two-armed studies. This contrasted with the hypothetical studies, where citizens did not prefer relocating care in the majority of cases. This may be due to the fact that citizens are familiar with the current situation and do not know, or find it difficult to imagine, what a new situation will look like. Citizens may not want to relocate because familiarity is an important aspect of healthcare, as described earlier.

The articles found included a wide variety of conditions and phases of treatment. We would have preferred to distinguish between different conditions and treatment phases, as these aspects may determine the preference for healthcare location. For example, it might be the case that citizens would like to relocate follow-up cancer care to care at home, while keeping the treatment itself in the hospital. However, the large variation in conditions and phases of treatment resulted in a small N per condition or phase of treatment and this hampered further in-depth analysis.

Relocating care often involves not only the location changing, but also other aspects. For instance, the care provider may change too, for example a telephone consultation with a nurse instead of a face to face appointment with the specialist in the hospital [ 32 , 53 ]. And in some cases, the purpose of treatment changed, for example, a telephone consultation that was meant for providing information and supporting patients, while a face to face consultation was more focused on looking for signs of recurrent disease [ 29 ]. All of these factors together determine the preference for healthcare location. So it is not only the location on which citizens base their preference. It is, therefore, important to take all aspects into account, not only the geography when investigating the preferences for healthcare location.

Strengths and limitations

A strength of this scoping review is that it has a broad search strategy developed together with a medical information specialist. This resulted in over 11.000 references that were all assessed. However, the search strategy may not have been broad enough, as some articles were missed, including two of the 18 key articles. This was known beforehand and so we investigated why the two key articles were not found. One key article was not found because we did not use the word “experience” [ 16 ] while the other focused on the terms “breast cancer”, “follow-up care”, and “healthcare models” [ 81 ], which we did not use in our search strategy. The words used in these two articles were not words we saw repeated in other relevant articles. Adding any of the key words yielded about 5,800 additional results in Pubmed alone. Therefore, we chose to add the key articles manually and left these words out of the search string. All statements made in this article are based on the conditions and forms of care that recurred in the studies we found. There may be other forms of care that could be relocated that have not been discussed in this article.

Another limitation of this study is that the articles are not double reviewed because of the large number of references found. However, to calibrate the inclusion process, the researchers applied the inclusion and exclusion criteria to a selection of 350 articles. Also, it was decided to start with reviewing abstracts, instead of titles, which is the normal procedure [ 23 ].

A limitation of a scoping review is that it analyses studies that use a range of data collection and techniques. This makes it more difficult to synthesise the results of the studies [ 23 ]. A strong point of this review is that we made a comparison between one-armed and two-armed articles and that approximately the same results emerged in the articles.

Research implications

A knowledge gap we identified is that citizens’ perspectives on relocating care received relatively little attention within the current literature. In particular, we found limited literature focusing on citizens’ perspectives regarding the relocation of care from the hospital to the GP. This gap is significant, because this is one of the forms of relocating that governments think of first in order to limit healthcare costs [ 6 , 7 , 8 ]. There are several studies about this subject but they do not involve the citizens’ perspective. Despite the importance of including citizens' perspectives in policy-making processes, it often remains underrepresented in the literature [ 11 ]. The World Health Organization (WHO) emphasizes that citizen engagement can enhance societal trust and lead to more effective public policies.

Another knowledge gap we identified is that insufficient research has been done on different treatment phases and conditions in healthcare with regard to citizens’ perspectives and relocating care. To fill this gap, future research should delve deeper into the relationship between the factors leading to particular attitudes towards relocating care, and preferences for location of care and different conditions and treatment phases, including diagnosis, treatment phase and aftercare.

Our study has also revealed practical implications that can inform healthcare policy and decision-making. Firstly, the factors we have identified can serve as conditions that governments can use to improve acceptance among citizens regarding healthcare location. They can be used as conditions that have to be met, and that can be used to direct citizens to a particular location. Secondly, it's evident from our findings that citizens generally prefer receiving care from home. This preference presents an opportunity for governments to invest in home-based healthcare services, potentially leading to higher citizen satisfaction and more cost-effective healthcare delivery.

Positive factors influencing the attitude of citizens towards relocating care are almost the same for all forms of this development—with convenience as the most important. The most often reported factor for having a negative attitude towards relocating care are concerns about the quality of care. The factors found are very important when determining a citizens’ preference for a particular healthcare location. The majority of studies in this review reported that citizens are in favour of relocating care, especially to care at home. Several knowledge gaps were identified. Strikingly, very few studies on relocation from the hospital to the GP were identified.

Availability of data and materials

Not applicable. The studies we used are accessible to everyone. All studies used are included in the references.

Abbreviations

General practitioner

Healthcare provider

Intra-uterine device

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Damen, L.J., Van Tuyl, L.H.D., Korevaar, J.C. et al. Citizens’ perspectives on relocating care: a scoping review. BMC Health Serv Res 24 , 202 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-024-10671-3

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    A literature review is a study - or, more accurately, a survey - involving scholarly material, with the aim to discuss published information about a specific topic or research question. Therefore, to write a literature review, it is compulsory that you are a real expert in the object of study.

  18. How to Undertake an Impactful Literature Review: Understanding Review

    Important aspects of a systematic literature review (SLR) include a structured method for conducting the study and significant transparency of the approaches used for summarizing the literature (Hiebl, 2023).The inspection of existing scientific literature is a valuable tool for (a) developing best practices and (b) resolving issues or controversies over a single study (Gupta et al., 2018).

  19. Getting started

    What is a literature review? Definition: A literature review is a systematic examination and synthesis of existing scholarly research on a specific topic or subject. Purpose: It serves to provide a comprehensive overview of the current state of knowledge within a particular field. Analysis: Involves critically evaluating and summarizing key findings, methodologies, and debates found in ...

  20. 5. The Literature Review

    A literature review may consist of simply a summary of key sources, but in the social sciences, a literature review usually has an organizational pattern and combines both summary and synthesis, often within specific conceptual categories.A summary is a recap of the important information of the source, but a synthesis is a re-organization, or a reshuffling, of that information in a way that ...

  21. (PDF) Introduction to Research & Literature Review

    At the heart of this intellectual endeavor lies the literature review—a gateway to the accumulated wisdom of scholars and an indispensable tool for any researcher. By delving into the history ...

  22. Importance and Issues of Literature Review in Research

    Importance and Issues of Literature Review in Research November 2020 DOI: Conference: 'Tackle a literature review' under the series 'Publish or Perish' organised by Mysore University...

  23. (PDF) Literature Review as a Research Methodology: An overview and

    A literature r eview plays an important role in research papers. It is a study of. ... Qualitative method was employed through literature review and narrative study. A conceptual model of the ...

  24. 'It depends': what 86 systematic reviews tell us about what strategies

    The study was a systematic review. b) Search terms were included. c) Focused on the implementation of research evidence into practice. d) The methodological quality of the included studies was assessed as part of the review. Study populations included healthcare providers and patients. The EPOC taxonomy was used to categorise the strategies ...

  25. PDF The Impact of Infrastructure on Development Outcomes

    of data is likely an impediment to research on low-income economies. While this literature review will briefly reference studies covering developed countries to provide a wider context, the main focus of the exposition will be on those studies that feature low- and middle-income countries. 0 5 10 15 20 25 30

  26. Academic Entrepreneurship Ecosystems: Systematic Literature Review and

    Research on the entrepreneurship ecosystem, based on different data and scales, limits the acceptance of a single definition. This conceptual limitation and the still recent research and higher education institutions have come to be seen as ecosystems associated with entrepreneurship. The aim of this study is to contribute to the field of knowledge, identify current and emerging thematic areas ...

  27. Research on country-of-origin perceptions: review, critical ...

    The study conducted a thorough review of published research on CO effects, supplemented by two surveys to gather the opinions of both CO researchers and industry professionals. The research examines the theoretical foundations of the CO literature, key methodological aspects of CO research, major empirical findings on the topic, and offers ...

  28. Key influences on university students' physical activity: a systematic

    Physical activity is important for all aspects of health, yet most university students are not active enough to reap these benefits. Understanding the factors that influence physical activity in the context of behaviour change theory is valuable to inform the development of effective evidence-based interventions to increase university students' physical activity.

  29. Female educational leadership in the Arab world: a systematic review of

    It was also important to examine the composition of Arab female leadership literature according to study type and research methodology as it helps to assess the maturity of the scholarship under investigation (Hallinger & Bryant, Citation 2013). Analysis by study type reveals that 80% of the publications (n = 34) were empirical studies.

  30. Citizens' perspectives on relocating care: a scoping review

    Data extraction. A spreadsheet was created to categorise the information that contributed to answering the research questions. The information extracted from the articles was structured according to the type of relocation, including: relocating from the hospital to the GP, to care at home, to self-care, or to eHealth, and relocating from the GP to self-care, to care at home, or to eHealth. The ...