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Interdisciplinary Medical Sciences: Medical literature at a glance


This guide describes medical information, knowledge and literature, which are increasingly interdisciplinary in nature, and provides resources for conducting literature reviews and compiling results for a variety of purposes. Interdisciplinary Medical Sciences (IMS) students can learn about quality information and how to review/use literature appropriate for their class research products.

APA and other journal styles

Related guides

What is medical knowledge? (3-minute video)

What are some medical knowledge resources?

Resources by Level of Evidence

The above image was produced by Bradley A. Long and Audrey Rock, Central Michigan University Libraries (©2016).  The image is based on the EBM Page Generator from Dartmouth College and Yale University (©2006) and the Coursera MOOC  “Understanding Clinical Research: Behind the Statistics(©2016).

What is medical literature and why review it?

Medical/biomedical literature may refer to peer-reviewed journal articles, editorially-reviewed books or book chapters, conference proceedings, doctoral dissertations, government documents, or pertinent personal communications, such as emails. (References: PubMed,  Introduction to Research and Medical Literature for Health Professionals, Web of Science)

We review scholarly literature "To formulate a summary of what is known in the research area, the strengths and weaknesses of existing research, and a discussion of the purpose of the new research interest in terms of what is yet unknown" (p.34 in Introduction to Research and Medical Literature for Health Professionals)

How might literature reviews be used?

Literature reviews inform knowledge products such as:

  • Annotated bibliography
    • List of articles with descriptions of their relevance to a particular research project
  • Guideline (clinical practice)
    • Professional recommendation based on a systematic review of clinical evidence
  • Poster
    • Overview of a research project; often used to get feedback prior to writing an article
  • Review
    • Article or book published after examining literature on a subject; may be broad or narrow in terms of content, format and time range.
  • Systematic review
    • Review of primary literature; aims to identify, appraise, and synthesize all empirical evidence that meets specified eligibility criteria to answer a given research question
  • White paper
    • Government, organization or corporation report that describes and proposes solutions to issues, needs or problems

Sample products:

Maguire Medical Library
Florida State University College of Medicine
1115 W. Call St., Tallahassee, FL 32306
Call 850-644-3883 (voicemail) or Text 850-724-4987
Questions? Ask us.