Q: How do I write the chronological and thematic literature review on knowledge regarding a pap smear test?

Detailed Question -

I am going to write a literature review for my mini-research, and I am confused. Please give some suggestions on it.

1 Answer to this question

It’s great that you are doing a literature review. A literature search is necessary for every research, and is the backbone of secondary research such as review articles. Also, your review for today’s “mini-research” can prepare you for doing comprehensive literature reviews for more expansive research tomorrow.

To answer your question, a literature review can be organized in several ways. While chronological and thematic are two ways, it can also organized alphabetically (by author names). However, it's best to adopt only one flow, and not both, unless there's a strong reason to do so. You may be doing this as you are working on a smaller study, but for the same reason, it may help to work with only one sequence.

Chronologically means that you look at related studies starting from a certain period, say, early 2000s, to the present and discuss them in sequence. As yours is a mini-research, you may not need to look at too many existing studies, but it’s good to go for a number that can yield valuable insights.

Thematically means that you look at various studies and then discuss them according to the themes or concepts that emerge. As you talked about knowledge around the pap smear test, perhaps you mean the extent of awareness among women among the test and therefore around cervical cancer (which pap is a test for). So, (level of) awareness could be one theme. Another could be communication, by those attempting to raise awareness of the test and the issue. Of course, these are only examples, and your literature search would probably suggest the kind of themes you discuss. Note also that a thematic literature review is considered a ‘richer’ review as you look at studies with relation to one other – that is, you aim to collate and synthesize information.

Finally, to save and easily refer to your saved articles, it helps to use a reference manager.

To know more about the various points discussed above, you may refer to the following resources:

And if you wish to utilize our literature search service, you may do so here: Literature Search

Hope that helps. All the best for your mini-research!