How to conduct an effective literature search
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How to conduct an effective literature search

Fiona Timmins Senior lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin
Catherine McCabe Research fellow, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin

The ability to describe and analyse published literature on a topic and develop discussion and argument is central to evidence-based patient care. A literature review is an assessment procedure that is commonly applied in nursing settings. Effective literature searching is a crucial stage in the process of writing a literature review, the significance of which is often overlooked. Although many current textbooks refer to the subject, information is often of insufficient depth to guide an effective search. This article outlines important considerations in the search strategy and recommends practical advice for students to ensure best use of their valuable time. It is suggested that a systematic, organised search of the literature, that uses available resources effectively, is more likely to produce quality work.

Nursing Standard. 20, 11, 41-47. doi: 10.7748/ns2005.11.20.11.41.c4010

Correspondence

timminsf@tcd.ie

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review