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Health Law

Links & Tasks


What is the Literature Review?

“A Research literature review is a systematic, explicit, and reproducible method for identifying, evaluating, and synthesizing the existing body of completed and recorded work produced by researchers, scholars, and practitioners.”

Arlene Fink, Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper (London, Sage, 2010) at 3.

“A formal literature review is a very specific piece of argumentative writing. It is a work that relies on scientific and academic discourse and debate to construct arguments about a current research project.”

Zina O’Leary, The Essential Guide to Doing Research (London, Sage, 2004) at 78.

Research Planning Worksheet (Sample)

Determine the Research Topic (Begin by brainstorming: discussing, general reading of secondary texts, mapping out ideas)

 Mandatory Vaccinations of Children

 Consent to Treatment: A Practical Guide by Rozovsky(Library Reserve), “Vaccines and the Law” Halsbury’s Laws of Canada,

Select the Research Question(s) (What is the specific thesis, problem, research question I will explore in my literature review?)

 How do Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom differ in their approaches to exemptions to immunizations, and how does each strike a balance between public safety and personal freedom?

Select Indices, databases, and tools (What are the relevant disciplines/fields? Law, Medicine, Sociology, Criminology, etc.?)

 Library Subject Guides: Health law, Health Statistics, Immunology?

 Law Articles: Index to Legal Periodicals, LegalTrac, Hein, Index to Canadian Legal Literature

 Legislation/Cases: LexisQuicklaw, Westlaw, BAILII

 Health Articles: PubMed, Database of Online Health Statistics  

 Websites: – Immunization, Facts and Fictions; – Communicable disease prevention and control 

Choose Search Terms (Ask an expert; what are the appropriate concepts or terms to use?)

 Immunization, minors, consent, compulsory (Rozovsky)

 Immunization or Vaccines, mandatory, school age children (Halsbury’s)

Apply Practical Screens (How can you narrow your search scope? e.g., data range, jurisdiction, access--fulltext only, languages)

 Last five years, Canada/U.S./U.K., books and articles, cases, legislation

Apply Methodological Screens (Am I approaching this question from a particular perspective? Critical analyses, comparative, descriptive?)

 Comparative studies, health policy, legal practice, NOT sociological

Preliminary Literature Review

 Caplin, Arthur.  “Free to Choose but Liable for the Consequences: Should Non-Vaccinators Be Penalized for the Harm They Do? (2012) 40:3 Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 606.

 Barraza, Leila. “Denialism and Its Adverse Effect on Public Health”, (2013) 53:3 Jurimetrics: The Journal of Law, Science and Technology 307.

 De Law Torre-Fennell, Annakarina. “Chapter 821: Mandated Vaccinations Bring Informed Consent” (2013) 44:3 McGeorge Law Review 719.

 Rowbotham, Judith. “Legislating for Your Own Good: Criminalising Moral Choice. The Modern Echoes of the Victorian Vaccination Acts”, (2009) 30:1 Liverpool  Law Review 13.

 Erdman, Joanna N. “Health equity, HPV [human papillomavirus] and the cervical cancer vaccine”, (2008) Health L. J. 127.

Review Analysis

 Lots of good U.S. materials.  Hard to find Canada and U.K. materials within the 5 year period might need to go back 10 years. Could I limit it to Canada/U.S.? Not much comparative law materials, Canadian charter comparable to U.S. Bill of Rights?