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Nursing Resources: Literature Reviews

This guide is intended to help Nursing students find relevant resources for their research needs. You'll find useful searching tips, nursing databases, websites and more.

Literature Reviews

This page is under construction and more will be added soon, but the following content provides you with some help with literature reviews...

What is a Literature Review?

A Literature Review is generally defined as a process in which one may synthesize and evaluate relevant and existing scholarship (research) on a particular topic. Published work is investigated and critiqued. The student may be required to summarize findings, and may explain the investigation process.

Help with Literature Reviews

Literature Reviews Video 1

Literature Reviews Video 2

Literature Reviews Video 3

Locating and Identifying Scholarly Articles

Identifying Scholarly Articles

Scholarly resources contain original research and disseminate new research among scholars. They are produced and reviewed by a panel of experts in a particular field of study. Before being approved for publication the article is scrutinized and undergoes a process by the author’s peers. During this process they evaluate the quality, accuracy, and performance of the paper.

*In some cases trade journals which contain articles written by experts for experts are considered scholarly, but are not peer-reviewed.

Electronic Resources or Databases have features that limit your search to peer-reviewed journals. This refinement feature is usually located on the Search page of a database.

Here are some tips to help identify a scholarly or peer-reviewed journal article:

  1. Author
  • The author(s) are identified with credentials
  • Is the article authoritative?
  • If anonymous this could be a red-flag
  1. Title
  • Some are quite lengthy, often descriptive and use specialized or technical jargon
  1. Length
  • In most cases, the article is more than 5 pages. The article should include a page(s) of sources cited. The article also contains in-depth analysis.
  1. Content
  • Determine the intended audience
  • What is the level of information? Elementary or advanced?
  • Determine if the content is fact, propaganda or the author’s opinion
  • Is the information being conveyed objective?
  • What about the coverage? Is it comprehensive?
  1. References
  • Look at the types of sources the author is using. Are they primary or secondary sources?
  • Check the list of citations/references used. Do some cross-checking. Are these references to related materials?
  1. Publishing
  • Published by professional societies, academic associations, academic presses, or universities

It is also important to know not all content within a periodical is considered scholarly:

  1. Commentaries or letters to the editor
  2. Reviews found in the journals
  3. Magazine articles

To locate articles or journals by subject go to WVU Libraries