The purpose of this assignment is to evaluate your ability to formulate a Clinical question and to summarize, critique, and synthesize current research to answer the clinical question. The literature review allows you to know what others have discovered before you begin your investigation. In addition, you will be considering the clinical application of this research to your clinical practice.  Please see module 4 presentation, “how to write the Literature review.” Outline for writing your literature review Follow APA style formatting guidelines.

Introduction

The literature review is an essential component of any research project, as it provides a comprehensive overview of the existing knowledge and research in a specific field. In the context of clinical practice, a literature review allows healthcare professionals to identify gaps in knowledge, understand the current evidence base, and determine the most effective interventions or approaches to patient care. This assignment aims to evaluate your ability to formulate a clinical question and to summarize, critique, and synthesize current research to answer the clinical question. The literature review will serve as a foundation for your own investigation and also consider the clinical application of the research to your practice.

Formulating the Clinical Question

Before beginning the literature review, it is crucial to formulate a clear and focused clinical question. A well-formulated clinical question consists of four key components:

1. Patient or Population: Identifying the specific patient population or demographics being studied.

2. Intervention: Identifying the specific intervention or exposure being investigated.

3. Comparison: Identifying a comparison group or alternative intervention, if applicable.

4. Outcome: Identifying the desired outcome or outcomes that will be measured or observed.

By clearly defining these components, the clinical question becomes specific and focused, allowing for a targeted search of the literature. This ensures that the selected articles will directly address the clinical question, providing relevant and reliable evidence for analysis.

Summarizing the Research

Once the clinical question has been formulated, the next step is to conduct a thorough search of the literature. This involves using databases and search engines to locate relevant articles, such as PubMed, Embase, and Google Scholar. It is important to use a combination of keywords and controlled vocabulary (such as Medical Subject Headings, or MeSH terms) to optimize the search results. Additionally, inclusion and exclusion criteria should be established to ensure that only studies meeting specific criteria are included in the review. These criteria may involve study design, sample size, study population, and publication date, among others.

After locating the relevant articles, it is important to critically appraise each study. This involves reading the full text of the article and evaluating its strengths, weaknesses, and overall quality. The research methodology, study design, sample size, data analysis, and statistical significance should all be carefully considered. It is crucial to assess the validity, reliability, and generalizability of the findings, as well as any potential biases or conflicts of interest.

Critiquing the Research

A critical appraisal of the research involves analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of each study and assessing its relevance and applicability to the clinical question. This involves considering the study’s methodology, sample size, statistical analysis, and overall study design. It is important to determine whether the study provides reliable and valid evidence that can be applied to patient care. Additionally, any potential biases or conflicts of interest should be identified and evaluated. This critical analysis helps to ensure that only high-quality studies are included in the literature review and that the findings are robust and reliable.

Synthesizing the Research

Finally, the research findings from the selected studies need to be synthesized and summarized in a coherent manner. This involves identifying common themes, patterns, or trends across the studies. The findings should be organized and presented in a logical and systematic manner, allowing for a comprehensive understanding of the current evidence base. Any discrepancies, contradictions, or limitations in the findings should be acknowledged and discussed. The synthesis of the research should address the clinical question and provide evidence-based recommendations for clinical practice.

Conclusion

Writing a literature review requires a systematic and rigorous approach to identify, analyze, and synthesize the existing research in a specific field. It involves formulating a clear and focused clinical question, selecting relevant articles, critically appraising the research, and synthesizing the findings. This process allows healthcare professionals to gain an in-depth understanding of the current evidence base and make informed decisions about patient care. By following APA style formatting guidelines, the literature review can be structured and presented in a professional and organized manner, ensuring its credibility and effectiveness.