The quantitative literature review is presented as a unique type of research endeavor complete with formal stages that parallel those associated with primary or experimental research. This article provides a tutorial overview of the quantitative literature review procedure and, in conjunction with the companion article published in this issue, serves to illustrate the application of this technique in the review process. The stages in quantitative review include: (1) problem formation; (2) data collection; (3) data evaluation; (4) analysis and interpretation; and (5) reporting results. It is argued that inferences made in the research review process are as central to the establishment of valid biomedical and clinical knowledge as inferences made in primary research. Despite some limitations, quantitative reviewing procedures constitute a significant advance over the traditional narrative methods of integrating empirical research in an area of interest. The use of quantitative reviewing procedures represents a paradigm shift in which the literature review is conceptualized as a unique form of scientific inquiry complete with formal stages and methods. The adoption of these methods should assist researchers in the behavioral and biomedical sciences in establishing scientifically valid data bases to guide theory development and direct future clinical investigation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health