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RNSG 2504: Integrated Care of the Client with Common Health Care Needs: Reviewing the Literature

Why Research the Literature?

What is a Literature Review?

What is a Literature Review?

The literature review provides your audience with relevant information about your topic, as well as your synthesis and evaluation of the article. It is not just a summary of the article. It is not possible to provide all of the information on a topic with three or five articles. As you locate articles, determine those that are the most relevant and that give you the most information.

Choose a minimum of three articles. Before you begin, locate other literature reviews in your discipline, such as this article (*requires the barcode from your Lone Star College ID or library card for off-campus access).

There are several steps in writing a literature review:

  1. Choose a research area. For this assignment, you may choose any current topic in dental hygiene. 
  2. Identify sources of information. This literature review will be limited to peer-reviewed research articles from journals only. Articles must have been published from 2004 to date.A list of search tools are provided under the Find Research tab.  
  3. Record citation information for your report and bibliography as you research. Review the APA guide before you start. Locate, read and evaluate potential articles. Take notes on your articles, and identify patterns as well as agreements or disagreements among the authors. The guides listed below contain excellent questions to consider as you read and evaluate each article.
  4. Write your review, including your own synthesis and evaluation of the articles you selected. Provide a citation and a summary for each article.

The following links are excellent guides on writing literature reviews:

Literature Reviews and Evidence-Based Practice

Levels of evidenceLiterature reviews are important sources of information in evidence-based practice. The example article provided is also an example of a specific type of literature review - the systematic review. Systematic reviews are valuable in evidence-based practice because they:

  • are designed with a clear set of stated objectives
  • are comprehensive for a well-defined area of study 
  • evaluate and synthesize the quality and findings of the studies included. 

Most search tools provide a search filter to make it easy to locate systematic reviews on your topic. This is a useful filter that can provide you with high quality information very quickly. To learn more about how systematic reviews are developed, see "How to conduct a systematic or evidence-based literature review ."

You are not required to conduct a systematic review for this assignment; however, you might want to consider including a systematic review as part of your literature review, if you can find one that fits the criteria and search requirements of your assignment.

Locating literature reviews, in general, and systematic reviews, in particular, is both a time-saver and a method of finding critical evaluations of research.


Image credit: Claude Moore Health Sciences Library. (2003). Evidence Based Resource Models. Retrieved  February 13, 2019 from https://www.slideshare.net/anandmscn/evidence-based-practice-strategies-to-nursing-practiv [Slide 26].


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