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Doing a Literature Review in Nursing, Health and Social Care

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Title: Doing a Literature Review in Nursing, Health and Social Care

Authors: Michael Coughlan, Patricia Cronin, Frances Ryan

Publisher: Sage

Reviewer: Dr Jo Wilson, health care researcher

What was it like?

This book systematically goes through the steps and stages of undertaking a literature review including the different types of reviews and referencing and plagiarism. It clear outlines how to select topics, how to search the literature, and then how to read and organise the literature and critically analyse the findings. The next step includes how to synthesise the literature and how to write up the literature review. The book then includes the important stages of writing up the literature review and how to reference the findings and the importance of avoiding plagiarism. The final stage, which is often not included, is the sharing and publishing of the findings of the literature review and the different ways of disseminating the results.

The book has been well thought out and covers the important elements of literature reviews in a simplified way, which is helpful to health and social care professionals who are often undertaking their studies on a part-time basis. 

What were the highlights? 

The highlights of the book were the stages of critically analysing, synthesising and writing up the literature review. These are the steps that professionals can often shy away from or have difficulties in understanding and applying to their research. In this book they are well presented and supported by learning outcomes, figures, tables, examples and key points.

Strengths & weaknesses:

The key strength of this book is the application of the knowledge and the guidance of readers to undertake their own literature review. In a systematic way it clearly outlines the skills and knowledge that are required with supportive examples. It also contains a good glossary and is well referenced for further reading. There is good application to quantitative and qualitative research and systematic reviews. One potential weakness is the chapter on “Writing Up Your Literature Review”, which could be further expanded as this is often the most difficult part for professionals in pulling the process together.

Who should read it?

Health and social care professionals undertaking research, writing dissertations or assignments would benefit from this book as well as academic lecturers and supervisors who are supporting students who are undertaking literature reviews.

Doing a literature review in nursing

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Thanks for this post! I think it is really useful. Where I can find more information about literature review writing?

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  • Caroll,

    You can find this information at forums and blogs for writers and students. In addition, try to visit this website: pro-papers. com. They have a lot of information on this topic)

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