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Discuss the purpose of the literature review and in which situation will you use it? Discuss also what are the challenges that nurses are facing today when they have to do a literature review?

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Copyright © 2012 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Chapter 5

Literature Reviews: Finding and Critiquing Evidence

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Question

Tell whether the statement is true or false:

A research literature review is a written summary of evidence on a research problem.

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Answer

True

A research literature review is a written summary of evidence on a research problem.

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Purposes of a Literature Review

  • Identification of a research problem
  • Orientation to what is known/not known
  • Determination of gaps or inconsistencies in a body of research
  • Determination of a need to replicate a study
  • Identification of clinical interventions that need to be tested

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Purposes of a Literature Review (cont.)

  • Identification of relevant conceptual frameworks for a research problem
  • Identification of suitable designs and data collection methods
  • Identification of experts who could be used as consultants on a project
  • Assistance in interpreting findings and developing implications

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Sources of Information in a Research Literature Review

  • Principal reliance on primary sources (research reports written by researchers who conducted the study)
  • Less reliance on secondary sources (summaries of studies by others)
  • Peripheral use of anecdotal reports, opinion articles, case reports

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Question

Tell whether the statement is true or false:

An ancestry approach uses pivotal studies to search forward to subsequent studies that cited it.

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Answer

False

Ancestry approach: tracking down earlier studies cited in a reference list of a report

Descendancy approach: using a pivotal study to search forward to subsequent studies that cited it

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Finding Studies

  • Ancestry approach: tracking down earlier studies cited in a reference list of a report
  • Descendancy approach: using a pivotal study to search forward to subsequent studies that cited it

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Types of Search in Electronic Databases

Subject search

Search for topics or keywords in the database

Text word search

Search for specific words in text fields of the database record

Author search

Search for a specific researcher

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Key Electronic Databases for Nurse Researchers

  • CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature)
  • MEDLINE (Medical Literature on-Line)

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Example of a Printout from a CINAHL Search

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Example of a Printout from a
PubMed Search

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Abstracting and Recording Information

  • Coding the studies
  • Literature review protocols
  • Literature review matrices

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Question

Matrices are a convenient means of abstracting and organizing information for a literature review. What is the purpose of evaluation matrix?

Record methodologic features of a set of studies.

Record research findings.

Record quality assessment information.

Record thematic analysis of the retrieved information.

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Answer

C

A reviewer might use a methodologic matrix to record methodologic features of a set of studies, a set of results matrices to record research findings, and an evaluation matrix to record quality assessment information. The use of such matrices facilitates thematic analysis of the retrieved information.

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Matrix

  • Methodologic
  • Results
  • Evaluation

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Example of a Literature Review Protocol

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Critiquing Studies and Evaluating the Evidence

  • Research critiques of individual studies
  • Evaluating a body of research

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Analyzing and Synthesizing Information

Theme Analysis:

  • Substantive themes
  • Theoretical themes
  • Methodologic themes

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Preparing a Written Literature Review

  • Organizing the review
  • Writing a literature review

1. Content

2. Style

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Guidelines for Critiquing
Literature Reviews