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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Alison Grodzinski, BScH, MLIS (Central Michigan University)
Description: This book provides a complete and easy-to-understand description of the matrix method, a systematic methodology for conducting a thorough and efficient review of health science literature.
Purpose: The matrix method, which has grown from a simple organizational system into an efficient and precise research methodology, is described here in full. This publication serves as a how-to guide along each step of the process.
Audience: It is intended for graduate students and professionals from a variety of health science backgrounds.
Features: The author, a professor of health science research methods, originally developed the matrix method for her own research purposes. She has instructed her students in the methodology for years and now brings it beyond the classroom. In addition to providing a tutorial on searching the literature using electronic databases, she describes how to systematically abstract each article, how to synthesize the information in a coherent and logical manner, and finally how to maintain and update the file of information. The author applies this methodology to relevant trends in healthcare research, such as evidence-based medicine and clinical practice guidelines. At the end of each chapter, the reader is presented with the story of one student's experiences as an illustrative example of each concept that is discussed. In addition, a useful list of references to books, journals, and web sites is included.
Assessment: This book goes beyond other research methods texts by delving beyond the basic search process into evaluation and organization of the information. The step-by-step organization is clear and the common sense approach taken by the author is logical. Although some more experienced researchers may consider this publication very simplistic, the methodology may still be useful to learn. I recommend this book to anyone interested in conducting a thorough and efficient review of the literature.