VCU Libraries

Research Guides

How to Conduct a Literature Review (Health Sciences)

Overview of how to get started writing a health sciences literature review.

Selection Criteria

You may want to think about criteria that will be used to select articles for your literature review based on your research question.  These are commonly known as inclusion criteria and exclusion criteria.  Be aware that you may introduce bias into the final review if these are not used thoughtfully.

Inclusion Criteria

Inclusion criteria are the elements of an article that must be present in order for it to be eligible for inclusion in a literature review.  Some examples are:

  • Included studies must have compared certain treatments
  • Included studies must be experimental
  • Included studies must have been published in the last 5 years

Exclusion Criteria

Exclusion criteria are the elements of an article that disqualify the study from inclusion in a literature review.  Some examples are:

  • Study used an observational design
  • Study used a qualitative methodology
  • Study was published more than 5 years ago
  • Study was published in a language other than English