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Conducting Research Literature Reviews

Conducting Research Literature Reviews
From the Internet to Paper

Fifth Edition

February 2019 | 304 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Providing readers with an accessible, in-depth look at how to synthesize research literature, Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper is perfect for students, researchers, marketers, planners, and policymakers who design and manage public and private agencies, conduct research studies, and prepare strategic plans and grant proposals. Bestselling author Arlene Fink shows readers how to explain the need for and significance of research, as well as how to explain a study’s findings.
Offering a step-by-step approach to conducting literature reviews, the Fifth Edition features new research, examples, and references from the social, behavioral, and health sciences, expanded coverage of qualitative research, updated and revised meta-analysis procedures, a brand new glossary of key terms, double the number of exercises, and additional examples of how to write reviews.

About the Author
PART I. Research Design and Sampling
Chapter 1: Reviewing the Literature: Why? For Whom? How?
What is a Research Literature Review? Why Do One?  
Gaining Control: Experiments and Observations  
Systematic, Explicit, Comprehensive, and Reproducible: Four Key Words  
Choosing an Online Bibliographic Database  
How Do You Ask for Information? Searching With Boolean Operators  
Pausing during the Search  
Changing the Course of the Search  
Supplementing the Online Search  
Organizing the Research Literature: Building a Virtual Filing Cabinet  
Chapter 2: Searching and Screening: The Practical Screen and Methodological Quality
Search Screen 1: The Practical Screen  
Search Screen 2: Methodological Quality Screening Criteria  
Observational Designs in Brief  
A Note on Other Designs and Studies: Cross-Sectional Surveys and Consensus Statements  
Internal and External Validity  
Criterion for Quality: Sampling  
The Sampling Unit  
The Size of the Sample  
Response Rate  
PART II. Data Collection, Interventions, Analysis, Results, and Conclusions
Chapter 3: Searching and Screening: Methodological Quality
Data Collection and Data Sources: Methods and Measures  
Interventions and Programs: Reviewing the Research Literature to Find out What Works  
Data Analysis: Statistical Methods in the Research Literature  
Accounting for Impact  
Chapter 4: Doing the Review: A Reader’s Guide Chapter
Types of Information: Methods and Content  
Eligibility and Actuality  
Reporting Standards: Checklists for Research Writing and Reviewing  
How TREND Was Used in a Literature Review  
Reliable and Valid Reviews  
Uniform Data Collection: The Literature Review Survey Questionnaire  
Uniform Data Collection: Definitions and More  
Pilot Testing the Review Process  
Establishing Validity  
Monitoring Quality  
Chapter 5: What Did You Find? Synthesizing Results
Now that You Have Done It, What Do You Do With It?  
Descriptive Syntheses or Reviews  
Meta-Analyses in Practice: Examples  
Author Index
Subject Index

“Fink’s tone, level, and style is very approachable and understandable which makes it ideal for my students, most of whom are new to the process of literature reviews.”

Jana Nidiffer
Oakland University

“This book provides rich, useful, details on conducting literature review & constructing evidenced based reviews.”

Janet Reid-Hector
Rutgers University Camden
Key features


  • Nearly 100 new online research examples and references from the social, behavioral, and health sciences
  • Updated case studies using major online databases such as the Web of Science
  • More qualitative research examples and guidelines and checklists for evaluating their quality
  • An explanation of how “meta-synthesis” is used to interpret and combine the results of qualitative studies
  • A brand new glossary of key terms to assist readers in learning about literature reviews 
  • A discussion of how to account for an article’s impact by interpreting its altmetrics, including attention scores, donut diagrams, and Twitter demographics 
  • Additional examples of how to write up reviews and how others have done it
  • Expansion of the exercises at the end of the chapter to vary difficulty and include more online searching
  • An introduction to the GRADE system to evaluate the “risk of bias” in each research article


  • Step-by-step procedures and visual examples help readers master every aspect of conducting the literature review process
  • Online examples and case studies bring the literature review process to life
  • End-of-chapter exercises help readers master key concepts and skills

For instructors

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