How to write a Strong Literature Review for Nursing | Guide, Outlines & Examples

When writing a nursing literature review, it is important to be clear and concise. This comprehensive guide will teach you how to write a strong literature review for Nursing, and includes nursing literature review outlines and examples.

What is a literature review?

A literature review is a critical analysis of a publication. It provides an overview of the work, describes its strengths and weaknesses, and makes recommendations for further reading. Nurses should use literature reviews when evaluating the impact of new research on practice.

Quick Summary of how to write a strong literature review for Nursing

To write a strong literature review for nursing, follow these five steps:

  1. Search for relevant articles.
  2. Analyze the articles and select the information that is relevant to your study.
  3. Summarize the key findings of the selected articles.
  4. Discuss how the selected research could be used in nursing practice.
  5. Offer any recommendations or suggestions for further reading

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Steps of writing a strong literature review for nursing

Step 1: Search for relevant articles.

How to Search for relevant articles for your Nursing Literature Review

  • Before you begin your literature review, it is important to have a plan. You’ll need to figure out what you want to learn from the literature, and what topics or authors you want to explore. Once you have a general idea, the next step is to search for relevant articles. Here are some tips for finding the right sources:
  • Check databases of scholarly journals (JSTOR, CINAHL, ProQuest) and find papers published on the topic you are interested in.
  • Search Google Scholar using the keywords you used when selecting your topic.
  • Use online citation tools (Web of Science or Scopus) to look for journal articles that cite other journal articles in your field.
  • Check library catalogues and online databases (e.g., PubMed) for books and book chapters that discuss the topic you are interested in.
  • Ask colleagues or friends who are experts in your topic for recommendations.

Working on a DNP Capstone project, you may find this interesting How to write a DNP Capstone Project Literature Review

Step 2: Analyze the articles and select the information that is relevant to your study.

How to evaluate and select sources for your nursing literature review

Selecting sources for your nursing literature review can be a daunting task, but with a bit of planning and some helpful tips, the process can be streamlined and simplified.

When selecting sources for your nursing literature review, it is important to remember that you are seeking information that will help you formulate an accurate opinion about the topic under examination. It is also important to take into account the credibility of the source and the extent to which the information within it can be trusted. When evaluating different sources, consider these key factors:

1. The source’s level of expertise. In order to trust information from a particular source, it is important to verify that the author has significant knowledge about the topic under consideration. For example, if a source is discussing research findings from a recent study, make sure that the author has experience in conducting research and interpreting data from such studies.

2. The source’s level of evidence. Information from authoritative sources (such as journal articles or book chapters) generally tends to be more reliable than information from less-reliable sources (such as personal blog posts). When evaluating sources, be especially wary of sources that do not cite any evidence at all (for example, anecdotal evidence or personal opinion).

3. The source’s bias. It is important to be aware of the author’s ideological perspective before reading information from that source. For example, if the author is writing about a controversial topic, it is likely that they will have an opinion on the matter.

4. The source’s level of accessibility. Be sure to evaluate sources according to how easy they are to access: journal articles and book chapters can be difficult to find, but articles from magazines and online journals are often easier to find and read.

5. The source’s timeliness. Information may be outdated by the time you read it, so be sure to check the date of publication and review any updates that have been made since then.

Once you have selected sources for your nursing literature review, it is important to organize and structure your findings in a way that makes them easily accessible. One approach is to create a list of topics that you would like to explore in greater detail and then search for relevant journal articles, book chapters, or other sources on those topics. Another approach is to use Google Sheets as a tool for organizing your findings into categories (such as types of research, patient perspectives, or healthcare systems) and then analyzing those categories in greater depth.

Regardless of the approach you choose, it is important to be careful not to rely entirely on one source when forming your opinion about a topic. It is always helpful to cross-check your findings with other sources in order to ensure that you are making an informed decision.

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Step 3: Summarize the key findings of the selected articles.

When writing a literature review, it is important to summarize the key findings of the selected articles. This can be done in a variety of ways, but following these five steps will help make your summary concise and effective.

  1. Identify the main points of each article.
  2. Summarize the key findings of each article.
  3. Discuss how these findings can be used in nursing practice.
  4. Give any recommendations for further reading that may be relevant to this topic and the selected article.
  5. Close with a summary statement of the key takeaways from the article

Using Thematic Analysis

Nursing literature reviews can be used to inform practice by providing a comprehensive overview of the literature related to a particular topic. This type of review is especially helpful when there is a lack of specific research regarding a particular area of nursing.

It is important to consider the themes that are prevalent in the literature when performing a thematic analysis. The following are some key points to keep in mind when performing a thematic analysis:

  • It is important to identify and analyze the main themes that are present in the nursing literature.
  • Themes should be consistent across papers and should be related to the subject matter of the review.
  • It is also important to identify any inconsistencies in the themes that are identified. This will help to identify any areas where further research is required.

Outline of a Thematic Nursing literature review

Outline of a Thematic Nursing literature review
How to write a Strong Literature Review for Nursing | Guide, Outlines & Examples 5

Step 4 Discuss how the selected research could be used in nursing practice.

Types of nursing literature review structures to use in the discussion

There are several approaches to organizing your nursing literature reviews.

Chronological nursing literature reviews
How to write a Strong Literature Review for Nursing | Guide, Outlines & Examples 6
  • Chronological: reviews articles in a specific order, typically from most recent to oldest.
  • Methodological: reviews articles using a specific methodology (e.g. content analysis, participant observation).
  • Thematic: reviews articles based on a certain topic or focus (e.g. research methodology, nursing research).
  • Theoretical: reviews articles that explore new theoretical concepts or explore an existing theory in new ways (e.g. critical discourse analysis, feminist theory).
  • Clinical: reviews articles that focus on clinical applications/impacts (e.g. evidence-based practice, patient care).

When writing the nursing literature review discussion section, be sure to;

  1. Summarize and synthesize: give an overview of the main points of each source and combine
  2. Analyze and interpret: don’t just paraphrase other researchers—add your own interpretations where possible, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole
  3. Critically evaluate: mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
  4. Write in well-structured paragraphs: use transition words and topic sentences to draw connections, comparisons and contrasts.
Types of nursing literature review structures to use in the discussion
Types of nursing literature review structures to use in the discussion

Step 5: Offer any recommendations or suggestions for further reading

This section offers:

  • A critique of any scientific findings in the reviewed studies
  • A description of any clinical implications of the reviewed studies
  • Make a recommendation based on the findings of the research.
  • Support your recommendation with evidence from the research.
  • Conclude your review by highlighting any implications that the findings of the research may have for nursing practice.
  • A summary of the conclusions drawn from the reviewed studies

By following these steps, you will be able to write a strong literature review for Nursing.

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Literature Review for Nursing
Literature Review for Nursing

Components of a Literature Review for Nursing

The following are eight components of a literature review for nursing. The list is not exhaustive, but it provides an overview of the important elements of a literature review.

Purpose of the Review

The purpose of a literature review is to provide an assessment of the current body of research related to a particular topic in nursing. This assessment will help the nurse make informed decisions about which interventions or therapies to pursue in therapy settings.

Literature Search Strategy

The literature review must include a clear and concise description of the search strategy used to locate relevant articles. In addition, the selection process for selecting articles for inclusion in the review should be described.

Selection Criteria for Articles

The selection criteria for articles should be clearly stated and explained. This includes factors such as study design, population studied, methodology used, and results obtained.

Description of Included Studies

Each study that was included in the review should be described in detail. The key points that should be highlighted include study objectives, population studied, sample size, and methods used to collect data. It is also helpful to provide a summary of each study’s results.

Assessment of the Studies

The review should provide an overview of the findings of each study and how they relate to nursing practice. This section should include a critique of the study’s methodology and results.

Conclusion

The review should provide a summary of the main findings and conclusions drawn from the included studies. This section should also highlight any implications that the study’s findings may have for nursing practice.

Recommendations for Future Research

Finally, the review should make specific recommendations for future research that would be most relevant to nursing practice.

Bibliography

The literature review should include a comprehensive bibliography of all the articles that were included in the review. This will provide readers with the resources they need to explore the topic further.

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What are the prerequisites of a nursing literature review?

Nursing literature reviews must be well-written and informative to help readers make informed decisions about pursuing a nursing career.

To write a strong nursing literature review, you first need to understand the different types of literature reviews.

A descriptive literature review is a type of review that describes the features, characteristics, and findings of a particular body of literature.

A critical literature review is a type of review that evaluates the validity and usefulness of a body of literature.

Finally, an analytical literature review is a type of review that uses methodological principles to analyze the meaning and significance of a body of literature.

Once you have defined the terms you will be using in your review, you need to identify the features, characteristics, and findings of the literature you will be reviewing. To do this, you will need to read each article carefully and take notes on what you find. After reading all the articles, compile your notes into a concise summary.

What does your nursing literature review need?

A literature review is a critical analysis of a body of literature. It can be used in any field, but is particularly important in nursing because so much information is available and the decisions made about patient care are based on what has been studied.

When writing a literature review, it is important to take note of the following:

  1. The purpose of the review: The first step in writing a good literature review is deciding what you want to learn from it. Is the review designed to help you understand how the literature relates to your practice or research question? To support an argument you are making? To determine whether a study was useful or not? The answer will determine what kind of information needs to be included in your review.
  2. The scope of the review: A literature review should be as specific as possible. What subjects did the studies examine? What types of patients were included? What methods were used to collect data? How accurate was the data collection? This will help you select relevant studies for your analysis.
  3. The methodology used: A good literature review includes details on how the studies were analyzed and how they were chosen for inclusion in the review. Thiswill help you to avoid drawing invalid conclusions from the data.
  4. The findings: A literature review should include a summary of the findings of the studies, as well as any important conclusions that can be drawn from them.
  5. The context in which the findings were gathered: The literature review should also include information on the context in which the studies were conducted, including the socioeconomic and cultural environment at the time. This will help you to understand how the findings may have been influenced.
  6. The writing style: A good literature review should be clear and concise, without excessive jargon.

In addition to the above, a literature review might also include the following:

  1. An overview of the research methodologies used in the reviewed studies
  2. A description of the study participants
  3. A discussion of the study design and methodology
  4. An evaluation of the methodological quality of the reviewed studies
  5. A critique of any scientific findings in the reviewed studies
  6. A description of any clinical implications of the reviewed studies
  7. A summary of the conclusions drawn from the reviewed studies

How to format a nursing literature review?

Nursing literature reviews can be formatted in several ways, depending on the author’s preference. The most common way to write a nursing literature review is to organize it by study design, population groups, interventions, and outcomes. However, other formats include those that group studies by topic or focus on specific methods or tools.

Regardless of the format chosen, all reviews must include the following information:

1) the purpose of the review;

2) an overview of the study design and population groups studied;

3) an assessment of the methodological quality of the study;

4) a discussion of the findings and their implications for practice;

5) a conclusion.

Levels of Evidence for Nursing Literature Reviews

When writing a literature review for nursing, it is important to remember that there are different levels of evidence. The four levels of evidence are cohort, case study, randomized controlled trial (RCT), and meta-analysis. When determining which level of evidence to use for a literature review, the author should consider the purpose of the review, the audience for the review, and the methodology used to gather the data.

When reviewing academic papers written by nurses, it is important to use cohort studies as the level of evidence. Cohort studies are research studies that track groups of people over time and examine how various factors (such as exposures) affect health outcomes. This type of study is useful when trying to determine whether certain exposures or interventions are associated with health benefits.

When reviewing journal articles written by nurses, it is important to use case studies as the level of evidence. Case studies are research studies that focus on a specific individual or group of individuals and examine how they experience a particular situation or event. This type of study can be helpful when trying to understand complex issues in an easily understandable manner.

When reviewing journal articles written by other healthcare professionals, it is important to use RCTs as the levelof evidence. RCTs are research studies that randomly assign participants to one of two or more groups and compare the outcomes between the groups. This type of study is useful when trying to determine whether a particular intervention is effective in improving health outcomes.

When reviewing journal articles written by nurses, it is important to use meta-analyses as the level of evidence. Meta-analyses are research studies that take multiple journal articles and analyze them using a statistical method known as meta-analysis. This type of study can be useful when trying to determine whether a particular intervention or exposure is associated with health benefits across a variety of different studies.

The purpose of a nursing literature review is to summarize and assess the evidence related to the therapeutic use of a particular nursing intervention or theory. Nursing reviewers must be able to evaluate the quality of the study, determine its relevance to the nursing practice, and draw conclusions about the applicability of the findings to nursing.

When reviewing nursing studies, it is important to consider the level of evidence.

  • Level 1 studies are descriptive and provide information about a phenomenon.
  • Level 2 studies are randomized trials that compare two groups and measure differences between them.
  • Level 3 studies are meta-analyses that analyze data from multiple studies and determine whether a treatment is effective.
  • Level 4 studies are large-scale clinical trials that compare different treatments on a large population.

When reviewing nursing interventions, it is important to consider the purpose of the intervention. Interventions may have multiple purposes, such as improving patient outcomes, preventing adverse events, or ensuring safe practice.

Nursing literature reviews can be divided into two main types: descriptive and analytical. Descriptive reviews focus on providing an overview of all available literature on a particular topic and synthesizing these findings into generalizable conclusions. Analytical reviews are more specific in their focus and include the identification of strengths and weaknesses of each study, as well as the synthesis of evidence into conclusions.

Nursing literature reviews can be divided into two main types: descriptive and analytical. Descriptive reviews focus on providing an overview of all available literature on a particular topic and synthesizing these findings into generalizable conclusions. Analytical reviews are more specific in their focus and include the identification of strengths and weaknesses of each study, as well as the synthesis of evidence into conclusions.

When reviewing nursing interventions, it is important to consider the purpose of the intervention. Interventions may have multiple purposes, such as improving patient outcomes, preventing adverse events, or ensuring safe practice.

Tips for Writing a Successful Literature Review for Nursing

When writing a literature review for nursing, it is important to be clear, concise, and informative. Here are three tips to help you write a strong review:

  1. Know the basics. Before you even start writing your review, it is important to know the basics about the article or book you are reviewing. This includes its title, author, and subject matter.
  2. Be selective. Once you have a good understanding of the article or book, it is time to select what you want to focus on. Make sure to detail why you chose each piece of information and what implications it has for nursing practice.
  3. Be critical but constructive. As with any writing task, it is important to be critical but constructive in your review. It is important to provide thoughtful feedback that will help improve the quality of future literature reviews for nursing students and practitioners alike. 

When completing a literature review for nursing, it is important to remember the following tips:

-Start with a clear purpose for writing the review. What is your objective for reviewing the material?

-Be specific. State which works you have read, where you found them, and what interested you about them.

-Evaluate the literature using critical thinking skills. What are the author’s main points? Are they well supported by evidence?

-Keep your review focused on the work you have read. Do not include personal opinions or observations.

-Avoid making generalizations or assumptions about all literature on the subject matter. Be sure to cite specific examples to support your points.

-End your review with a summarization of your findings and recommendations. What did you learn from reading the material? What implications does this have for nursing practice?

If you follow these tips, you will be able to write a strong and informative literature review for nursing.

Conclusion

A literature review is an essential component of any nursing research project. It can be used to guide your study, help you better understand the body of research on a topic, and formulate a plan for future research.

In this article, we will discuss the steps involved in writing a strong literature review and provide some tips for making your review as effective as possible. 

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