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Hilton C. Buley Library

 

*Nursing*

Nursing information in the library, from basic knowledge to specific types of research articles to video tutorials

Literature Reviews

Literature reviews are summaries of the literature on a particular topic. Reviews are generally considered "research", especially systematic and integrative reviews, but are not experimental in nature. There are several kinds of reviews: plain literature reviews, systematic reviews, and integrative reviews are the most common. Chapter 5 of Introduction to Nursing Research: Incorporating Evidence-based Practice (Cannon & Boswell, 2011) covers the purpose and process of a literature review in the context of writing a research article, thesis, or dissertation.

Types of literature reviews:

  • Literature Reviews
    • summaries of relevant literature
    • generally descriptive
    • not necessarily any analysis of the literature
    • methodology of the literature search is not always given
    • good for gaining background knowledge of a subject without having to do all the searches and reading yourself.
    • good source for starting reading lists and literature searches.
    • not generally considered a good source for clinical decision making
    • Note: In the past, reviews were not differentiated by type, so older reviews may use systematic or integrative methodology but not be specified as such.
    • Reading: Ten simple rules for writing a literature review (Pautasso, M. (2013). PLoS Comput Biol9(7), e1003149.)
  • Systematic Reviews
    • specifically include experimental research studies
    • search and selection methodology is very precise and should be explicitly described well enough for another researcher to duplicate the searches and the study selection. See Table 1 of this article (Hoojimans et al, 2012. PLoS One, 7(11): e48811) for a good example of describing the search methods.
    • the purpose of a systematic review is to reach some conclusion regarding the topic: for example, the selection of high quality studies to be used in a meta-analysis*, the gaps in current research, or the best clinical evidence for determining evidence based practice.
    • the first stage of meta-analysis studies--all meta-analyses should include a systematic review, but all systematic reviews do not lead to a meta-analysis
    • Reading: A practical guide to conducting a systematic review (Forward & Hobby, 2002, Nursing Times, 98(2), 36) provides some basic advice for conducting a systematic review.
  • Integrative Reviews 
    • commonly include non-experimental research, such as case studies, observational studies, and meta-analyses, but may also include practice applications, theory, and guidelines
    • should have clear and precise search and selection criteria
    • search and selection methodology should be described well enough for another researcher to duplicate the process
    • selected literature should be analyzed, not just summarized--articles and groups of articles compared, themes identified, gaps noted, etc.
    • Reading: The integrative review: updated methodology (Whittemore & Knaf, 2005, Journal of Advanced Nursing, 52(5), 546–553) provides an overview of the purpose and practice of integrative reviews.

 

 

*A meta-analysis study is one where carefully selected data from previous studies is combined to bring more rigor to a statistical or other analysis. No additional experimental work is done (usually). A systematic review is necessary to be sure that the data from the selected studies is comparable and combinable.

Finding Reviews