The conduct of systematic reviews is prevalent across various healthcare disciplines. However, it remains one of the least engaged methodologies in nursing. Increasingly, large numbers of individuals across healthcare are publishing in various mediums, on an annual basis, which has made it difficult for nurses to keep up with primary research evidence. The purpose of this discussion paper is to present a methodology that can be used to search for relevant materials, sort through large volumes of information, and make decisions regarding possible study selection. The intention of this paper is to describe the process involved in mapping out what is known from the existing literature about a specific area of interest, as well as the strategies used to delimit the number and type of materials to be included in a systematic review. An overview of the process of identifying relevant materials to include in a review is presented. Specifically, determining inclusion and exclusion criteria, search strategies, and selecting studies for inclusion in a systematic review are discussed. A case study of an existing systematic review that evaluated interventions for reducing the number of hospital readmissions following heart failure was used to guide this discussion.
Fredericks, S., Schwind, J., Aksenchuk, K. (Winter 2012). Information access and systematic reviews: A discussion. Canadian Journal of Nursing Informatics, 7, 1.