The type of review undertaken is influenced by the purpose of the review and resources available.However, the stages or methods used to undertake a review are similar across approaches and include: Once studies are selected, the quality of the research/evidence requires evaluation.Systematic reviews usually adhere to clear guidance from established centres such as Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) based in the UK2 and the Public Health Agency of Canada.3 Scoping reviews include a comprehensive search strategy but unlike systematic reviews do not synthesise the evidence.
The importance of literature reviews should not be underestimated—they help summarise and make sense of an increasingly vast body of research promoting best evidence-based practice.
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For example, if your topic is "Nursing Ethics," some keywords may include: "code of ethics," "confidentiality," or "principles." Search for literature in various publication types, including: books, academic databases/journals, government documents, or health care websites.
Search academic nursing journals simultaneously through various online databases, such as Pub Med, Medline, and Scholars Portal.
Check the references of books and articles to find additional sources. Avoid older sources (more than 10 years old) unless you are conducting a historical analysis and/or they are widely cited in the literature.
Select sources that offer a range of competing ideas and themes.The purpose is to critically evaluate the published body of knowledge on your topic.Instead of a long summary of the research, your review should add value to the literature through the identification of important research gaps, controversies and directions for future research.Write your list of references and/or a bibliography in the format (e.g.AMA, APA, Chicago style) requested by your teacher or professor.Summarize the important ideas and themes of your review in a concluding paragraph. Evaluate of the current state of your topic within the nursing discipline.Provide insight about how your topic fits into the overall profession of nursing.Conclude your introduction by identifying the overall sequence of your review.Organize your the body into several paragraphs corresponding to different themes, fields of nursing, or time periods in the literature.A literature review is time intensive, but can be efficiently completed by employing some basic research and time management skills.Identify your topic, define your style, and limit your scope.