At Anthrotech, we have been working with clients to provide body size information for use in the design and sizing of products and complex workspaces since 1950. Often, in the course of that work, we include a summary of other published literature that’s relevant to the topic for background information. It’s helpful to clients to know how our new information or analysis fits into what’s been done before. Sometimes, however, the review of published literature is the work product itself. Today’s blog talks about that kind of project.
What is a literature review?
A literature review is a search and evaluation of available published information on a given subject or topic.
For our needs, sometimes we are able to find the information we need in a library, and sometimes we can find what we need digitally online. Depending on the question the topic poses, we may group the scientific articles we find into categories that are helpful for the client, or we may draw conclusions after having read many articles on the topic. In the end, we provide a report outlining our findings that is tailored to our clients’ distinct needs.
Example literature reviews conducted
We have conducted numerous literature reviews for clients and government agencies over the years. Here are a few details about a couple of those projects. In a project completed for the U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, we worked to analyze research on the size, shape and functional capabilities of persons with disabilities that had taken place in the previous decade or so. We found that the anthropometry of people without disabilities simply did not reflect the size, reach and strength data of the elderly and persons with disabilities. For that project, we categorized articles in a general way and indexed them by the author to provide maximum usability. We provided a single paragraph description of each article for quick data absorption by our clients.
In another literature review project, this one for the Government of Ireland’s Centre for Excellence in Universal Design, the agency was more interested in an overall summary of existing research – and our analysis of it – rather than a summary of individual articles. We always structure these projects in the way that’s most useful for the client’s intended use of the information.
In addition to government agencies, we have conducted literature reviews for commercial clients. We can’t talk about the specific topics, of course, but performing this service for commercial clients enables those businesses to use their own internal resources more efficiently. By sending us to the library to conduct and analyze research – a process that can take a significant chunk of time – their teams can stay in-house, doing what they do best.
Over time, we have become increasingly efficient at planning and conducting literature reviews. No matter the topic, we’re able to find the right information, analyze it in order to give quick, valuable context to the client, and draw conclusions as necessary. If you think your business could benefit from outsourcing this task, contact us today! We are happy to talk through more details of what the project would entail.