Narrative Literature Reviews

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Narrative literature reviews
Introduction
nA literature review is a comprehensive study and interpretation of the work that has been published on a particular topic nA literature review should convey the knowledge and ideas that have been established on a topic and their strengths and limitations Why undertake a literature review?

nTo provide a review of the current knowledge in a particular field nProvide a description of research studies
nIdentify gaps in current knowledge
nIdentify emerging theoretical issues
nIdentify theories relevant to your chosen topic
nAllow studies to be compared and contrasted
nLearn about the practice experience of others
nBecome informed about the debates and arguments on a specific subject nQuestion our practice and identify opportunities for change n( Bryant et al 2003, Price 2003)

The value of literature reviews
nThe MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccination media stories in 1998-1999 nIn 1998 Wakefield published an article in the Lancet suggesting a possible link between the vaccination, autism and bowel disorders. Based on 12 children, no controls nNewspaper headlines led the public to believe that the link was more certain than Wakefield’s report concluded nThe effect was that vaccination rates dropped by half – measles reappeared having been almost eradicated and a child died nMore research has been commissioned, studies reviewed and no evidence found to confirm the link n(Mcgraw-Hill 2009)

Three types of literature review
nThe three basic types of literature review are:
nQualitative systematic reviews – reviews only original research where each paper is reviewed systematically and consistently. Called a qualitative review because the results of all the studies reviewed are not statistically combined

nQuantitative systematic literature review (Meta-analysis): nCritical evaluation of each research paper and statistical combination of the results of the studies Narrative literature reviews
nOr unsystematic narrative review
nThis is the type of literature review you will be expected to undertake for your assignment in this unit nA narrative review is a comprehensive account that combines published information nReports authors findings in a condensed form that summarises the contents of each article (Green et al 2006) Preparation

nChoose a topic that you are really interested in
nPerform a preliminary literature search to help you refine your topic and objective of the review you are writing nSelect a topic with a feasible focus for example a review on ‘depression’ will be an impossible task whereas ‘the nurses role in counselling patients with depression’ can be manageable nThe focus needs to be clear and defined

A question that needs answering
nConstructing a question that you hope the literature will help you to answer will give your review a focus nThe question should be one that can be answered by literature e.g. “How does caring for a family member with a long term health problem affect the health of informal carers? nA philosophical question such as, “ Should we tell patients about all the theoretical risks concerning treatment?” is problematic because you still have to make your own decision (Price 2003) Student activity

nIn groups of six identify a topic that you would like to review and construct a question that you think could be answered by a review of the literature Searching the databases
nYou have access to a wide range of databases in the university learning resources nDo not confine your search to one data base
nTalk to the librarian about suitable databases that are available that might provide something interesting Search terms
nYou need to select terms that increase your chances of finding information that is relevant to your question nBy selecting terms that are specific you will obtain fewer but more relevant ‘hits’ (recommended papers for you to review) nRead the summary/abstract before...
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