Systematic review – a method for nursing research
Issues in research Previous     Next

Systematic review – a method for nursing research

Arja Holopainen Research director, Nursing Research Foundation, Helsinki, Finland
Tuovi Hakulinen-Viitanen Research director, Development and Research Centre for Maternity and Child Health Care, Stakes – National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health, Helsinki, Finland
Kerttu Tossavainen Professor, Department of Nursing Science, University of Kuopio, Kuopio, Finland

This article by Arja Holopainen, Tuovi Hakulinen-Viitanen and Kerttu Tossavainen explains the five stages of the systematic review process and describes how this method was applied to an analysis of studies dealing with nurse ‘teacherhood’. The authors argue that systematic review is an excellent method for summarising research knowledge and for highlighting evidence significant for nursing, nursing education and nursing research

The continuous growth of research knowledge and the demands for evidence-based practice have created a need to gather, analyse and synthesise previous research knowledge (Evans and Pearson 2001, Magarey 2001, Evans 2002, Jones 2004). The method of reviewing previous research can be referred to as ‘research of research’ (Droogan and Song 1996, Droogan and Cullum 1998, Whittemore 2005). Various methods can be used in a research review, depending on, for example, what the aim is of gathering and evaluating existing research knowledge, what kind of studies are included in the review and how they are analysed. The methods of reviewing existing research knowledge are integrative review, meta-analysis, systematic review and methods that combine qualitative research (for example, metasummary, metasynthesis, formal grounded theory and metastudy). What these different methods have in common is that they generally follow the strict methodological demands applied to research (Whittemore 2005).

Nurse Researcher. 16, 1, 72-83. doi: 10.7748/nr2008.

Want to read more?

Already subscribed? Log in


Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first 3 months

Your subscription package includes:
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals and their archives
  • Customisable dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests
RCN student member? Try Nursing Standard Student

Alternatively, you can purchase access to this article for the next seven days. Buy now