The literature review process is conceptualized as a form of scientific inquiry that involves methodological requirements and inferences similar to those employed in primary research. Five stages of quantitative reviewing that parallel stages in primary investigation are identified and briefly described. They include problem formation, data collection, data evaluation, analysis and interpretation, and reporting the results. The first two stages provide information and guidelines relevant to reviewers’ employing traditional narrative procedures or conducting reviews of qualitative research literature. The final three stages relate specifically to the methodology of quantitative reviewing.
The argument is made that quantitative reviewing procedures represent a paradigm shift that can assist researchers and clinicians in occupational therapy to establish a scientific data base that will serve to guide theory development and validate clinical practice.