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PPC IV Literature Review Requirements (self-directed learning assignment): Assignment Instructions


  • See the announcement section of the PPC IV CANVAS site to see an example of a literature review.
  • Literature Review is due September 27th at 11:55 pm.
  • Email Prof. McEwen if you have questions about the assignment or would like to check that your article meets assignment requirements.

Important Dates

  • Assignment discussed in class: July 27th in PPC III
  • Can ask questions about the assignment in class on September 13th.
  • Optional help session: TBD
  • Paper due date: September 27th, 2022 at 11:55 pm.
  • Faculty graders must turn in their grades by November 1st.
  • Resubmission due date: November 22nd, 2022 at 5 pm.



Support Services for ESL Students

The Learning Center has hired a part-time ESL tutor from Kent State University’s Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) graduate program. This tutor, Amanda Balch, will collaborate with Learning Center staff, and faculty from both the COM and COP to offer one-on-one meetings to address students’ concerns with writing, communication, public speaking, field-specific vocabulary, and more.


Sessions will be held Tuesday and Thursday evenings throughout the academic year.

  • You can sign up for a 30 minute session with Amanda, one-on-one, from 4:00-8:00 pm, while additional availability from 12-4 PM may become available as well. All sessions, including their specific location, are currently available for you to view and sign-up in AIMS.

We look forward to enhancing our support for ESL students throughout this semester and beyond. If you have any questions about these services, please contact Amanda Balch (

Paper Instructions

Final Assignment Grade: All students must receive a 70% or higher to pass the assignment. You must pass the assignment to pass the HSC III course.

Topic/Clinical Question

This assignment entails writing a scientific paper summarizing and critiquing a primary research article addressing a clinical question of interest. The purpose will be to compare treatments for a disease or condition. You will be evaluated on scientific writing and the relevance of your resources.  A portion of this assignment is designed to meet the LCME requirement for self-directed learning. A section of the grading rubric will focus on self-directed learning (please see rubric for details).

  1.  You will be to choose a topic a disease or medical issue that interests you. Create your own clinical question. See examples of past topics can be found on the  Paper Topics Ideas tab in this LibGuide.
  2. Form a clinical question geared towards comparison of two treatments  (e.g., drug classes, treatments, programs, technology, surgical procedures etc.), using PPICO. The comparison can be one of the previously listed, a placebo, or usual care.  If you choose usual care, define what the authors define as usual care in your paper.
  3. Please note that if the article compares three or more drugs, you can concentrate on your two drugs.
  4. Returning students must choose a new topic for their paper.
  5. In the introduction section of your paper, discuss your clinical question. Provide background information about your disease, intervention, and comparison. All your resources will be helpful for this session. See the rubric and understanding the rubric sections of the assignment guide for more details about paper requirements.
  6. The research article section of your paper concentrates on the research article you have selected, The paper should match the disease, intervention, and comparison in your clinical question.
  7. The discussion section of the paper will utilize all resources cited in your paper. It consists of three components:
    • Evaluate the quality of the research article.
    • Discuss the relevance and quality of your additional resources.
    • Answer the clinical question and apply your patient article to patient care.


  • You must use at least one research article and one to four additional supplemental resources for your paper.  (narrative or systematic) review article from peer-reviewed journals. You may not use a meta-analysis/systematic review for your research article. The lecture discussing how to evaluate meta-analyses/systematic reviews is after the due date for the paper.
  • You may use additional professional resources for your paper. These additional resources may include other research and review articles, drug monographs, information from professional websites, etc.
  • You may need to order articles via ILLiad (inter-library loan). Please do not wait to the last minute to order the articles. You can register for free at the ILLiad website:

Paper Format

  • The paper should be 5-6 pages in length, double-spaced, and single-sided.  There is a 6.5 page maximum length for the assignment.  An 11 or 12 point, standard font should be used with 1-inch margins. Submissions should include a title (title page is optional), an introduction, the body of the literature review, a discussion, and a literature cited section. The optional title page and literature cited section can be on additional pages and will not count towards the five page maximum length.

The Use of Quotations

  • Although you can use quotations in your paper, they should be used sparingly.
  • You should use quotation marks when quoting.
  • Overuse of quotations can lead to students to be asked to rewrite their paper and to resubmit.

Citing Your Resources

  • Your resources need to be cited within the text of your paper. You may use the superscript number method or the number within citation-name system. See the citation guidelines tab of this guide for more details.
  • You must use the National Library of Medicine style for your citations in the literature cited section of this paper. See the Citing Resources guide for examples of citations in the NLM style.
  • See the following website for examples of how to use the superscript number method to cite resources within in the text of the paper.

Turning in Your Assignment

  • Turn in your paper and research article via your CANVAS assignment tool. You are not required to turn in additional resources cited within the paper.
  • Your last name and first initial must be used in your paper's file name.
  • Although the paper is due at 11:55 pm on September 27th, you may turn in your assignment early.
  • Mac Users: You will need to convert your Pages documents to Word so the course director can open them.  From Pages' File menu, select Export > Word. Open the Word file in Pages to make sure the document's format wasn’t changed. You may also turn in your assignments as a pdf file.
  • Your graded rubric will be returned via the PPC IV CANVAS site. The deadline for faculty to submit their graded rubrics is November 1st. A graded copy of the actual paper will be placed in the CANVAS assignment tool if a faculty member has provided additional notes in the paper. You will receive an email with your graded rubric if you need to resubmit your paper.

Late Submissions

  • Five points will be deducted for a late submission. Late submissions have a time stamp of 11:55 pm or later on September 27th.

Resubmission Information

  • Students who receive less than 70% on the assignment will be need resubmit their paper after making corrections for a passing grade. Students will receive the second grade on their paper. There is additional information about the resubmission process on the resubmission page of this guide. Resubmissions are due on November 22nd.