A literature review is a critical step in conducting research as it allows researchers to gain an in-depth understanding of the current knowledge and research on a specific topic. It serves the purpose of discovering the most recent and relevant information about the topic at hand (Gray et al., 2017).
The first step in conducting a literature review is to establish a research question or objective. This question will guide the search for relevant articles and help identify the gaps in the existing knowledge base. Once the research question is established, the next step is to search for current journal articles within the past five years that are relevant to the topic. This can be done by using keywords related to the research question in search engine databases (Neill, 2017).
It is important to document the steps taken to find the articles in order to ensure the replicability of the work. This includes recording the databases used, the keywords entered, and any filters or limitations applied during the search process. By doing so, researchers can ensure that their literature review is thorough and comprehensive.
Once the relevant articles have been gathered, they need to be carefully analyzed through judicious evaluation. This involves critically assessing the content, methodology, and findings of each article to determine their quality and relevance to the research question. Researchers can ask questions such as: what problem is the author presenting, is the problem relevant to the research question, what are the strengths and weaknesses of the article, and what gaps in knowledge were identified for future study (Neill, 2017).
After analyzing the articles, it is time to write the literature review. The literature review should be compiled in a systematic manner, with relevant sections to recognize trends and highlight key findings. It is important to organize the literature review in a way that effectively presents the information and addresses the research question or objective.
In my current research, I plan to approach writing the literature review systematically. I will follow the steps outlined by Neill (2017) and ensure that I conduct a thorough search for relevant articles using appropriate keywords. I will also assess each article using a set of predetermined questions to determine their relatability and contribution to the overall knowledge base.
In addition to nursing literature, I will also explore medical literature in general, as it can provide valuable insights and perspectives on my chosen topic. For example, research from George et al. (2015) supports the effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in alleviating chronic pain. Their study examined the effects of MBSR versus health education control with HIV-positive participants experiencing chronic pain. The findings showed that 79% of the MBSR group continued practicing the interventions and reported improved pain intensity three months post-study, while the control group’s pain intensity worsened.
In conclusion, a literature review is a critical step in conducting research as it allows researchers to gain an understanding of the current knowledge and research on a specific topic. It involves establishing a research question, conducting a thorough search for relevant articles, analyzing the articles through judicious evaluation, and compiling the findings in a systematic manner. By following these steps, researchers can ensure that their literature review is comprehensive and provides a solid foundation for their research.