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UMass Amherst Libraries

Literature Reviews, Systematic Reviews & More for Health Sciences

tips for students in all School of Public Health and Health Sciences departments and the College of Nursing

Guide Overview

This guide contains resources and links about various types of reviews: literature, systematic, scoping, integrative, meta-analysis, etc. Below, I have linked to an article that describes several different types of reviews and how they differ. The target audience for this guide are students in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences and College of Nursing.

Please contact me if you have specific questions, or use the Schedule Appointment link under my picture to set up a meeting.

Your Librarian,


Need some help on how to interpret a research study? This brief from the Guttmacher Institute was written about social science research, but most of the questions to ask apply to all types of research.

I created a couple of handouts with instructions on how to export large results sets into Excel and RefWorks and removing duplicate items.

Ellen's Top 5 Tips

Getting Started

The best place to start your search is with the databases of academic literature for your discipline. Here are a few used across many science and health science disciplines.

To find additional sources, here are links to my Research Guides for the various disciplines in SPHHS and Nursing. Look for the Find Articles tab to get a list of suggested databases, but remember that, depending on your topic, you may want to consult additional sources.

Evaluating Studies

Finding Grey Literature & Data

Finding Full Text

When you find an article you want, you can click on the UMLinks logo to get the full text.

UMLinks will find the full text online if it is available in any of the databases UMass has access to.

It will also search the library catalog to see if the library has it in print.

If an article or book is unavailable at UMass Amherst, current and retired UMass Amherst faculty and staff, and current students can get it using our Interlibrary Loan service. There will be a link to Interlibrary Loan when you use the UMLinks button.

More about Interlibrary Loan

To log into Interlibrary Loan use your UMass NetID and password (same as what you use for SPIRE and Moodle or Blackboard).

The first time you use Interlibrary Loan, you will be prompted to fill out a profile form, so we know who you are and how to contact you when your item arrives.

A couple of tips: the Interlibrary Loan profile form will ask for your library barcode. You can leave this field blank, even though it looks like it is a required field. The profile form also asks you to choose a campus pickup location. This does not mean you have to come to campus to retrieve your articles! All article requests are filled electronically.

After completing the profile, you should then see a pre-populated article request form. Make sure all the required fields are completed (sometimes they don't all transfer to the form), then submit it and usually in 1-2 business days you'll get an email that your article has arrived! The email will include a link into the Interlibrary Loan system, where your article PDF will be available to print or download.