8 Revisión de la literatura

Según el artículo A Systems Approach to Conduct an Effective Literature Review in Support of Information Systems Research (2006), una revisión de la literatura es:

Hart (1998) defined the literature review as “the use of ideas in the literature to justify the particular approach to the topic, the selection of methods, and demonstration that this research contributes something new” (p. 1). He also noted that for the literature review, “quality means appropriate breadth and depth, rigor and consistency, clarity and brevity, and effective analysis and synthesis” (Hart, 1998, p. 1). J. Shaw (1995) noted that the process of the review should “explain how one piece of research builds on another” (p. 326). Webster and Watson (2002) defined an effective literature review as one that “creates a firm foundation for advancing knowledge. It facilitates theory development, closes areas where a plethora of research exists, and uncovers areas where research is needed” (p. 13).

Una revisión de la literatura debe incluir las diferentes características:

  1. methodologically analyze and synthesize quality literature,
  2. provide a firm foundation to a research topic,
  3. provide a firm foundation to the selection of research methodology, and
  4. demonstrate that the proposed research contributes something new to the overall body of knowledge or advances the research field’s knowledge-base.

En el proceso de realización de una revisión de la literatura, un paso que consume mucho tiempo es la lectura. En este artículo se proporcionan algunas técnicas para ayudar a una lectura activa:

  1. Keep an annotated copy of all the articles, book chapters, or conference proceedings you read in both hardcopy and electronic format. It is unbelievably frustrating to need to refer back to an article and find you do not have ready access to it.
  2. Highlight everything in the article that is applicable to your research, even if you don’t think you will use the material. It is almost impossible to tell exactly what direction research will take, and it can be very frustrating and time consuming to try to re-locate information you are almost certain you found in a given paper.
  3. Write notes to yourself about the article you are reading regarding issues, thoughts, or general comments such as “nice methodology for …”, “interesting definition of…,” etc.
  4. Write a brief (one to two paragraph(s)) annotated bibliography entry that encapsulates the essential points applicable to your research derived from the article. It is important to note that the annotated bibliography is specific to your research and is not the same as the abstract for the article, which summarizes the entire study.
  5. As one reads literature, be sure to look for and circle any terms or expressions that might serve as keywords that would facilitate the forward or backward searching described earlier.
  6. Remember, it is important to place each article in the context of the body of knowledge by identifying the applicable model(s), construct(s), theory(ies), and/or literature stream(s) (see section “Cognitive/construct-level” above). Annotate the applicable model(s), etc. on the front of the article.

Existen diferentes tipos de revisión de la literatura. En Systematic Review and Meta-analysis: When One Study Is Just not Enough se define la forma básica de revisión de la literatura, la revisión narrativa:

Review articles have traditionally taken the form of a narrative review, whereby a content expert writes about a particular field, condition, or treatment (5–7). Narrative reviews have many benefits, including a broad overview of relevant information tempered by years of practical knowledge from an experienced author. Indeed, this article itself is in a narrative format, from authors who have published a number of meta-analyses in previous years.

In some circumstances, a reader wants to become very knowledgeable about specific details of a topic and wants some assurance that the information presented is both comprehensive and unbiased. A narrative review typically uses an implicit process to compile evidence to support the statements being made. The reader often cannot tell which recommendations were based on the author's clinical experience, the breadth to which available literature was identified and compiled, and the reasons that some studies were given more emphasis than others. It is sometimes uncertain whether the author of a narrative review selectively cited reports that reinforced his or her preconceived ideas or promoted specific views of a topic. Also, a quantitative summary of the literature is often absent in a narrative review.

A veces la revisión narrativa no es suficiente. En esos casos se puede realizar un mapeo sistemático o una revisión sistemática. En Research synthesis in veterinary science: Narrative reviews, systematic reviews and meta-analysis se comparan los pasos de una revisión narrativa y una revisión sistemática:

The steps in systematic review Systematic reviews Narrative integrative review
Pre-step: Assemble a review team and develop a systematic review protocol Required. Methodological content experts required to ensure sources of heterogeneity are identified. Research synthesis experts ensure that bias reduction tools are employed Not required but likely a good practice. Useful reviews can be done by a single person
Step 1: Define the review questionRequired that the question is defined as if a primary study:
PICOS: P, Population; I, Intervention; C, Comparator; O, Outcome; (optionally) S, Study design. PECOS: P, Population; E, Exposure; C, Comparator; O, Outcome; S, Study. PIT: P, Population; I, Index test(s); T, Target. PO: P, Population; O, Outcome
Often not applicable as the review is either an expert opinion or the scope is broad, such as the epidemiology of, the pathogenicity of, treatment options for, etc.
Step 2: Conduct an extensive search for studies.RequiredNot required but likely a good practice. Authors should still report how the data were obtained even if based on expert opinion.
Step 3: Selecting relevant studies from the results of the searchRequiredNot required but likely a good practice. Difficult to do if scope is not defined
Step 4: Collecting data from relevant studiesRequired. Feasibility often limited by reporting approach used in primary studies.Not required but likely a good practice.
Step 5: Assess the risk of bias in relevant studiesRequired. Feasibility often limited by reporting approach used in primary studies.Not required but likely a good practice.
Step 6: Synthesize the resultsRequired. Quantitative approaches required, and qualitative approaches strongly recommended and based on the definition of the review question. Feasibility limited by reporting approach used in primary studies, when narrative approaches are then used.Usually qualitative and narrative as quantitative assessment is not applicable. For example, reviews that aim to summarize the epidemiology, pathogenicity or treatment options of a disease are not answering a particular testable question and therefore do not lend themselves to a quantitative synthesis.
Step 7: Presenting the resultsRequired, a list of the characteristics of the included studies and sources of heterogeneityOften limited to listing citations, and readers would need to obtain the papers to be aware of sources of clinical or methodological heterogeneity.
Step 8: Interpret the results and discussionRequired, but rarely as extensive or prescriptive as narrative reviews. For example, studies might indicate that a treatment is effective but not that it should be used.Often extensive, as this is the main purpose of the review.

En algunos casos, cuando el análisis de la literatura solo se centra en los datos relacionados con el proceso de publicación, el estudio se denomina bibliometric review, como por ejemplo:


The Handbook of Research Synthesis and Meta-Analysis

Cita: H.M. Cooper, L.V. Hedges. Second Edition, Russell Sage Foundation, New York, 1994.

Research Synthesis and Meta-Analysis: A Step-by-Step Approach

Cita: Harris Cooper. Fifth Edition, Sage Publications, 2017.

Google Books: Research Synthesis and Meta-Analysis: A Step-by-Step Approach

Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper

Cita: Arlene Fink. Fourth Edition, Sage Publications, 2014.

Google Books: Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper