Using a review matrix enables you to quickly compare and contrast articles in order to determine the scope of research across time. A review matrix can help you more easily spot differences and similarities between journal articles about a given research topic. Review matrices are especially helpful for health sciences literature reviews covering the complete scope of a research topic over time.
Once you complete your research, organize your source by date in order to make it easier to see changes in research over time.
Every review matrix should have the same first three column headings: (1) authors, title, and journal; (2) publication year; (3) purpose.
It may be difficult to determine purpose from just a cursory review of the article. In some cases, it may be necessary to first read the paper fully to identify its purpose.
Next, carefully read all your articles. Note any important issues you identify. The following broad categories provide some suggestions for determining your own subject headings:
There are many ways to choose your column headings, and these are just a few suggestions. As you create your own matrix, choose column headings that support your research question and goals.