Learning Objectives

Building Psychological Knowledge

  1. A literature review helps us understand past research by describing, comparing, and evaluating multiple empirical studies that address related or identical questions, hypotheses, or problems.
  2. In searching the literature for relevant studies for a review, use PsycINFO and PsycLIT, which are specialized, noncommercial search engines sponsored by the American Psychological Association (APA) that serve as databases for citations and abstracts of the world’s literature in psychology and related fields.
  3. A traditional narrative literature review provides a qualitative summary of past research that has long been considered vital for building understanding and knowledge, but this approach has been criticized for its inherent subjectivity and risk of bias.
  4. In response to these criticisms, systematic review and meta-analysis were developed to provide a more quantitative approach to surveying, organizing, structuring, and analyzing empirical findings of studies included in the review.