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nursing research – literature review

review of literature
systematic, critical, review of the most important scholarly literature related to the topic of interest

three basic types of literature of interest
data to document incidence/need (stats)
empirical (relevant studies in journals, books)
theoretical (models, theories, frameworks, that will help guide study development)

overall purposes of lit reviews
helps narrow, clarify research topic
documents what is known about the topic
illuminates chronology of related knowledge development as appropriate
through description identifies: gaps; inconsistencies; methodological flaws; limitations of prior work – identifies what remains unanswered

quantitative lit review
as comprehensive as possible

qualitative lit review
may be minimal or done after study findings are analyzed

references in a lit review
primary sources
secondary sources
seminal works

primary sources
report by original author
published by scholarly source or in peer reviewed journal

secondary sources
written by someone other than original author
-systematic reviews, meta-analyses, meta-syntheses – can be very valuable!!
-EBP guidelines
-reference books, textbooks
-information from professional organizations

seminal work
classics, literature supporting certain treatment modalities, measurement instruments
things used a long time ago that are still important today

characteristics of a high quality lit review in a research report
comprehensive – but relevant
current – or seminal
unbiased
organized / logical
persuasive

goals of a high quality lit review in a research report
provide background related to problem need / significance
document what is known / unknown (gaps or inconsistencies)
reveal shortcomings of prior work (methodological, etc.)
make relationship with current research question clear

research utilization
suggesting a change in practice based on results of limited or weak research is not the best practice
multiple replications of a study are required to verify findings and rule out sources of error / threats to the validity of findings
***research does not prove anything***
nurses need information literacy skills to make decisions from an unbiased, informed position

secondary purposes of a lit review
aids researcher in study development by:
-suggesting appropriate data collection methods
-instruments used previously
-document need to replicate previous work – with a twist
supports/defines key concepts (variables) and relationships
documents past theoretical frameworks / suggests appropriateness of current framework

electronic database searches
major library-based databases for nursing
CINAHL
OVID
ProQuest
MEDLINE
Cochrane Database
PsycINFO
Dissertation Abstracts International (DAI)

steps / strategies for a lit review
generate reference lists on library data bases by entering ‘search terms’
-subject; key terms; titles; authors
select references by ‘checking’ those of interest
abstracts can be viewed
print, retrieve or send for through ILL once determine which worthy of retrieving

five evaluative criteria for references
accuracy
authority
objectivity
coverage
currency

accuracy
peer reviewed journal?
can facts be verified by reliable sources/

authority
who is the author?
professional?
credentials?
work for an organization?
selling?

objectivity
bias?
conflict of interest?

coverage
what scope does the reference address?
is this scope appropriate / meaningful to the research question?

currency
last five – ten years should be emphasized
‘classic’ (seminal) articles in a field may also be justifiable

web based resources
peer review screening process not present
authorship and bias can be unclear
accuracy often not verified
motivation of author / site often not explicitly stated
current? might not be updated with latest info

lit review activities
skim, take notes, analyze to eventually synthesize those of use
review articles retrieved (reference lists) for additional references
sort out articles into categories
-not of use
-background/significance
-current knowledge
-theoretical
-sources that help define research

meta analysis
the statistical averaging of the results of quantitative research (preferably experimental) addressing the same question
more objective than traditional lit review
rates relative quality of study and weighs significance of findings based on this
helps resolve significance of contradictory results
a valuable type of 2nd resource

meta synthesis
defined as systematic synthesis of findings from qualitative studies related to a shared topic
-interpretive
-dialectic (comparative)
-not a summary or aggregate
-promotes fuller knowing
-generate a new, broader view

apprasial of a lit review
is the review up to date or is the use of older references justifiable?
have the authors references mostly primary rather than secondary sources? if secondary, justifiable?
is the review primarily critical or summative?
does the review logically support the need for the current research while presenting an apparently unbiased and comprehensive review of relevant literature?

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