Assignment 1 - Literature review
Assignment 1 - Literature review
- Literature review on a sports therapy concept or treatment modality. See below for full scope of assignment
- Incl. concise methodology
- 1500 words
- Critical appraisal of the literature
- CURRENT literature
- Highlight the gaps within the literature
Assignment remit (Scope of the review):
This assignment should be conducted about a contemporary sports therapy topic e.g. Maitland mobilisations in the treatment of low back pain; effect of ice on joint position sense; effect of caffeine on repeated sprint performance etc. There should be specific analysis of the current research base and potential ‘gaps’ within the literature.
- Discussion and conclusion
- Appendix (Literature matrix)
The introduction section should have a 'hook' to gain the attention of the reader. For example, why did you choose the topic and why is it important.
Read the following article: Effect of ankle proprioceptive training on static body balance (http://tinyurl.com/z9dc4p4) and pay attention to the structure of the introduction section.
What did the first two sentences state?
The ankle joint is in close proximity to the body’s base of support, thus playing an integral role in maintaining balance. Stability of the ankle joint is paramount when considering regulation of balance.
These first two sentences have given the reader some useful information and are clearly a hook. They are not too detailed or specific, but general comments relating to the ankle and how it is important for balance.
The main body of the introduction explains in more detail about the specific nature of the topic:
Considering this knowledge, the findings of the related literature samples suggest that ankle proprioception is closely related to balance control and that balance is negatively affected by impaired ankle proprioception after injuries. However, the results of studies investigating the effects of proprioceptive training on body balance, or vice versa, are conflicting. Powers et al. investigated the effect of 6 weeks of strength and proprioception training on measures of muscle fatigue and static balance in subjects with unilateral functional ankle instability (FAI) and found that there were no significant effects of strength or proprioception training on these measures. Rozzi et al. suggested that 4 weeks of balance training was effective in improving joint proprioception and single-leg standing ability in subjects with unstable and non-impaired ankles.
The end of the introduction should give a clear indication of what you are going to discuss. Here is the final paragraph of the above article.
Considering the above-mentioned knowledge about the close relationship between ankle proprioception and balance, and the conflicting results of the literature samples, the present study aimed to investigate the effect of ankle proprioceptive training on static body balance in healthy individuals.
There is a clear statement of the direction of the review and it leaves the reader in no doubt what will be discussed. Make sure that you final sentence is clear and specific to the assignment.
A brief methodology to include the following:
- Literature sources i.e. PubMed, Medline, UCB Online
- Types of literature used in the review
- Key search terms used
- Search techniques i.e. Boolean operators
- Scope e.g. date range
- Use of analysis tool e.g. CASP or PEDro
Read the methodology section of this article: Effects of proprioceptive exercises on pain and function in chronic neck- and low back pain rehabilitation: a systematic literature review (http://tinyurl.com/jltjj37).
Only randomised controlled trials were included for this systematic review (SR). Titles retrieved from electronic search, were screened by two authors (MM and CS). To qualify as an eligible study, participants had to be of adult age (>18 years), present with chronic non-specific musculoskeletal neck- or low back pain (at least three months), including whiplash-associated disorders. Only studies declaring clinical examination or interview assessment of pain were included. Exclusion criteria were neurological deficits related to peripheral or central nerve damage, vestibular diseases, osteoarticular diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis), fractures, and tumours. No restrictions regarding gender, ethnicity, language, or clinical setting (in-patients or out-patients) were made. Pain during or after pregnancy, complex regional pain syndrome, headache alone, and fibromyalgia were also added to the exclusion criteria.
The methodology section should tell the reader how you did the review and how you analysed the results. Make sure that you include all the relevant detail given to you in the assignment remit.
Note: It is recommended that you use headings to signpost your work.
You should write the literature review in a narrative style and avoid treating each study independently. Identify key areas from each study that you wish to discuss and compare within paragraphs.
For example, you may wish to discuss the effects of soft tissue therapy on exercise induced muscle damage. Within the main body, you may choose to separately discuss the duration of the massage; type of massage; effects on ratings of pain; markers of muscle damage e.g. creatine kinase (CK) etc. Each paragraph should have an introduction, discussion and conclusion.
Finally, try and create a transition (link) to the next paragraph.
Note: The length of this section should normally be about 80% to 85% of your word count.
Read the following paragraph from an article discussing the effects of cryotherapy on joint position sense in healthy participants:
Three of the groups (Wassinger et al., 2007; Dover & Powers, 2004; Ozmum et al., 1996) that administered a superficial ice application reported no change in JPS posttreatment. Dover and Powers (2004) and Wassinger et al. (2007) both applied cubed ice, contained in a bag, for durations of 30 minutes and 20 minutes, respectively, to the shoulder. Although Wassinger et al. (2007) reported no differences in positional error after the ice application, they noted a decrease in movement patterns and throwing accuracy after treatment. Similarly, Ozmun et al. (1996) applied an ice pack to the knee for 20 minutes, but they did not state if their ice packs were commercially available or constructed by them specifically for this purpose. Also, the focus of Ozmun et al. (1996) appeared to be on movement reproduction pattern and not joint angle reproduction. All the researchers reported their result in degrees (Dover & Powers, 2004; Uchio et al., 2003; Surenkok et al., 2008; LaRiviere & Osternig, 1994; Ozmum et al., 1996) except Wassinger et al. (2007) who reported positional error in centimeters of vertical displacement.
This paragraph highlights how the author is able to demonstrate a breadth of knowledge (number of studies reviewed) and some critical analysis of some key areas. In this case, the author is discussing the differences in ice application and the effects on joint position sense. The authors then discuss the use of ice packs and if they were commercially available or self constructed. Finally, they discuss the units reported in the results e.g. degrees or centimetres.
Writing in this narrative style allows you to synthesise a number of articles and compare key points within one paragraph. This is seen as a more academic writing, as opposed to writing about each study in a separate paragraph.
You should aim to identify key aspects of the studies that may support or refute each other and discuss in relation to their findings.
Conclude by highlighting the major thrust of your answer. Summary of the main major points, highlighting the core findings, arguments or conclusions. This could be supported by bringing the mini-conclusion for each key point together. Do not introduce new ideas which were not discussed in the main body.
Note: The length of this section varies, normally about 10% to 15% of your word count.
Read the following part of the conclusion in relation to the cryotherapy study:
In the 7 studies we reviewed, 3 joints were assessed (shoulder, knee, and ankle) in a combined 204 healthy participants after a cryotherapy intervention. Four groups found cryotherapy to have no effect on JPS, whereas 3 others found JPS reduced after a cryotherapy treatment. Because of differences in the joints being assessed, the modality of cooling, measurement techniques, and quality of the reviewed studies, further research is needed before a conclusive answer as to whether cryotherapy reduces JPS can be determined. Given this brevity of research, we are also unable to make a recommendation as to when athletes can safely return to participation after treatment. Despite the suggested benefits of cryotherapy, until further evidence is provided, athletic trainers and clinicians should be cautious when returning individuals to physically demanding or dynamic tasks after cryotherapy.
The authors have summarised the key points and given a clear conclusion and subsequent recommendations relating to the efficacy of cryotherapy. This gives the reader a clear indication of the main thrust of the work and future developments. You should aim to do this within your conclusion section.
Q1. How many words should the literature review be?
Q2. You must add your literature matrix as an appendix
Q3. The recommended format of the literature review is
- Discussion and conclusion
- All of the above
Q4. A hook is used for what purpose?
- Throw the reader off the main topic of discussion
- Gain attention of the reader
Q5. The first few sentences of the introduction are normally
Q6. The end of the introduction should not allow the reader to know what you are going to discuss
Q7. The methodology should include the scope of the review i.e. dates searched
Q8. The methodology should tell the reader
- How you did the review
- How you analysed the results
Q9. Headings are recommended in the main body of the literature review
Q10. You should try and write in a narrative style.
Q11. A link to a subsequent paragraph is known as
Q12. Breadth of knowledge can be demonstrated by
- A number of studies reviewed
- Discussion of topics that are not related to the assignment title
Q13. A summary of the main thrust of your review is found in
Q14. New ideas are introduced in the conclusion
Q15. Future studies are not recommended in this section