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The British Journal of Nursing (2008)
Abstract: Nowadays, most nurses, pre- and post-qualification, will be required to undertake a literature review at some point, either as part of a course of study, as a key step in the research process, or as part of clinical practice development or policy. For student nurses and novice researchers it is often seen as a difficult undertaking. It demands a complex range of skills, such as learning how to define topics for exploration, acquiring skills of literature searching and retrieval, developing the ability to analyse and synthesize data as well as becoming adept at writing and reporting, often within a limited time
scale. The purpose of this article is to present a step-by-step guide to facilitate understanding by presenting the critical elements of the literature review process. While reference is made to different types of literature reviews, the focus is on the traditional or narrative review that is undertaken, usually either as an academic assignment or part of the research process.