Bridging the Divide Between Disciplines: Creation of A Methodological Approach for Conducting a Systematic Literature Review Across Three Diverse Disciplines


Multidisciplinary research has the potential to unlock diverse perspectives in examination of complex questions. However, bridging the divide between discipline for literature reviews can be tricky. This summer during a directed study under my academic advisor’s supervision, I sought to examine the potential impact concussion patients’ cognitive impairments could have on information behaviour. The ability to seek, acquire and process incoming information is essential for daily life interactions and functioning in various environments. Particularly for patients, research has shown that the ability to acquire information about one’s disease and participation in online health support groups can empower patients through allowing deeper understanding of their disease and control over treatment options. However, if concussion patients experience cognitive impairments of executive dysfunction, memory impairments, attention and processing speed deficits, it would stand to reason that concussions patients’ information behaviour (acquisition, seeking, absorption and literacy) would also be impaired as well. To fully assess the impact of concussion patients’ cognitive impairments on information behaviour, I sought out a multidisciplinary exploration of research articles across science, social science and humanity disciplines. This presentation will discuss a three phase methodological approach for systematic review created over the summer and briefly summarize my systematic review findings. I conducted a systematic literature review across three disciplines: health information science (HIS), psychology (PSYC) and library and information science (LIS). Two databases were selected to represent each discipline and data collection occurred between May 21st, 2020-July 2nd, 2020. A systematic standardized approach for searching across all six databases was created during Phase 1 of this systematic review (first initial pilot run of article collections [PR#1]). However, results from PR#1 revealed that sticking to a standardized approach in searching was not feasible across all three disciplines. My research topic of interest was unequally represented across the three selected disciplines. A novel approach needed to be created for this systematic review to capture relevant articles across three distinctive disciplines. My approach to this systematic review was modeled after stratified random sampling. Phase 2 and Phase 3 of this systematic review involved the collection, weeding, categorization, and random selection of articles. Phase 2 included the creation of lists of included and excluded relevant articles for each search string across all six databases. The title and abstracts of retrieved articles were manually assessed for relevancy based on a set of general criteria. Depending on the coverage of the topic of concussions, each discipline’s general exclusion and inclusion criteria for relevancy differed slightly. Phase 2 included the combination of the two separate initial lists from each databases per discipline, resulting in the generation of three literature lists being created (one per discipline). A second round of finer-tuned scanning occurred to weed out articles in each discipline’s literature list. This second step required additional scanning of articles for relevancy. After an article made it past the second more rigorous set of criteria for inclusion, it was assigned to one of four categories. Sorting of articles into four determined categories was to ensure equal representation of topics of interest during random selection of articles. Phase 3 of this systematic review comprised of random selection of articles, creation of annotated bibliographies of the 12 randomly selected articles and establishment of a narrative arch of findings. One article was randomly selected from each of the four categories across the three disciplines. Based on the narrative arch created, a fourth and final literature list was comprised filling in identified missing content areas. This three phases systematic approach across HIS, PSYC, and LIS uncovered a critical gap in literature on the topics of concussions. The low number of articles retrieved from LIS databases emphasizes the lack of discourse on exploration of concussions patients’ cognitive impairments, and the possible impact on critical thinking and reasoning. This noticeable gap in LIS databases was underscored by a critical gap in examination of concussion patients information behaviour in HIS and PSYC disciplines.

Oct 2, 2020 10:30 AM — 10:37 AM
Nicole Delellis
Nicole Delellis
Faculty of Information and Media Studies, Western University