Public Health Dissertation Example: UK

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Public Health Dissertation Example: UK

UniversityLiverpool John Moores University (LJMU)
Subject Public Health

Appendix 8: Example of suggested content and structural outline for A Structured Literature Review

Abstract (300 words approx.) A succinct synopsis of your study, which details:

  • Aim
  • Background
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Conclusion

Contents Page
As applicable:

  • List of tables
  • List of figures
  • List of appendices
  • List of abbreviations/Terms of reference

Chapter 1: Introduction (3000 words approx.)

Contextual background for the study; a critical review of existing literature, evidencing contemporary knowledge base and current debates; Study’s rationale to conduct the re SLR; leading to establishing the Research Question/Aim and Objectives, Concluding with the relevancy of the review.

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  • Critical exploration and evaluation of key literature
  • Identification of key themes within the current knowledge base
  • Identification of gaps in knowledge current
  • Justification for study
  • Short Conclusion   

Chapter 2 Methodology (2000 words approx.)

Critical discussion on the systematic processes deployed relevant to types of studies, participants, interventions and outcomes. Key subsection should include:

  • Rationale and research question
    • Research question
    • Research perspective (qual/quant)
    • Research study design
  • Search strategy
    • Databases
    • Keywords/Boolean operators/ subject headings (e.g. MeSH)
    •  Other search tools (e.g. truncation)
    • Delimiters e.g. English language; the currency of time period
    • Inclusion and exclusion criteria (this should reflect PICO or other frameworks)
    • Identifying eligible studies i.e. screening processes (PRISMA flowchart)
    • Data management/storage (e.g. Refworks)

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Link to Appendix where one full search is replicated (e.g. screenshot)

  • Data collection and analysis
    • Data Extraction - Use of appropriate tools to do this e.g. review-specific data extraction form
    • Methodological quality assessment - use of the appropriate tool, score and how it will be used (i.e. exclusion of studies or just reporting, justify with rationale)
    • Data Synthesis - QUALITATIVE SLR should include identification of a framework for thematic analysis

Chapter 3 Results (5000 words approx.)

Details outcomes in terms of:

  • PRISMA flow chart –selection of included studies from database search;
  • Characteristics of Included studies (brief); cross-reference to a table/Appendix
    • 0ne or more tables with details of participants, intervention/themes, outcome measures and any other important information.
    • Tables need to be described in the text as well as shown in tabular form
  • Result of methodological quality assessment -
    • discus the generic critique e.g. lacks detail about blinding;
    • cross-reference to a table or appendix where full detail is displayed
  • A narrative synthesis of results: synthesising the results of outcome measures/themes
    • Where possible the results need to be discussed together i.e. Four out of the 6 studies had a large sample size ranging from 50-100 participants, rather than writing about individual papers.  You should try and support all of your results with critical appraisal.  i.e. Large sample sizes are needed for quantitative studies, power calculations should be used to assess the appropriate sample size.

Chapter 4: Discussion (3700 words approx.)

A critical discussion of the SLR reflecting findings, their implications and the review process

  • Overview of the SLR findings
  • Overview of Methodological quality /deficits shortcomings
  • Strengths and Limitations of SLR
  • Comparison of the SLR’s findings with the current knowledge base
  • Implications for policy and practice
  • Recommendations for further research

Chapter 5 Conclusion (750-1000 words approx.)

A conclusion of the research study as a whole in terms of meeting the specific aims and objectives

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Supplementary material used to support the content of substantive chapters.  Consideration should be given to the utility offered by appendices and their creative use in capturing important information beyond that which needs to be included, for example, from the literature review and/or results from chapters.

* Please discuss the structure/flow of your dissertation with your supervisor, these templates are only a suggestion and you may decide to organise your dissertation in a different way but this should be agreed upon with your supervisor


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