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Last year Journal of Advanced Nursing was rearranged to present papers in Sections rather than under Categories, with one section for Review Papers (and two others for Research Papers and Theoretical papers). A greater focus in JAN on review papers reflects the growing importance attached to evidence for practice and policy from summarization and analysis of existing research findings. This year we are increasing our focus on research reviews by the addition of two new sub-sections in the Reviews section of JANReview summaries and Review protocols.

Review summaries

  1. Top of page
  2. Review summaries
  3. Review papers
  4. Review protocols

As mentioned in the Editor-in-Chief’s Introduction, the new Review summaries sub-section is a collaboration with the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI). With its ‘HQ’ in Adelaide in South Australia, and led by Professor Alan Pearson, JBI now has a worldwide network of collaborating centres and it has established itself as one of the international review and dissemination centres that is well known among nurses.

Nurses have consistently voiced concerns about their ability to search out, collate and synthesize evidence to inform their practice. Although organizations such as the Joanna Briggs Institute, Cochrane Collaboration and the UK Centre for Reviews and Dissemination all produce systematic reviews of relevance to nursing, the length and complexity of review reports can act as a barrier to knowledge transfer and utilization in practice. By publishing summaries of reviews in JAN, we aim to help meet the needs of nurses, particularly busy practitioners, by providing an easily accessible synthesis of evidence from research reviews, prepared by an internationally recognized centre (i.e. JBI), on nursing-related topics and questions.

The format of our Review summaries is intentionally compact, and with a focus on the clinical relevance of the topic/question, and on practice and research implications. The summaries are being prepared for JAN by members of the Adelaide-based JBI team under the guidance of Professor Alan Pearson, and we are really appreciative of their collaboration with JAN in this innovative and exciting new development.

Review papers

  1. Top of page
  2. Review summaries
  3. Review papers
  4. Review protocols

Primary research studies are in most circumstances preceded or accompanied by a systematic review and synthesis of the literature in order to evaluate the evidence concerning a specified research question or topic. Evidence synthesis is also a key element to translating and transferring knowledge into practice.

Nurse scholars such as Janice Morse, Alan Pearson and Margarete Sandelowski have been at the forefront of developing systematic review methodology and methods of evidence synthesis. JAN has sought to publish key methodological work to advance the science of systematic review methodology. Research published in JAN is also frequently cited in reviews of evidence. Thus, it is timely that JAN is now increasing its focus on publishing high-quality reviews of evidence to inform policy and practice.

In placing an increased emphasis on reviews, we aim to publish reviews which adhere to international standards of conduct and reporting. Methods for the conduct of reviews and syntheses of evidence have developed and evolved, and reporting standards have been published. We have therefore updated our Author Guidance on reviews in line with international standards to ensure consistency and transparency.

We welcome the submission of high-quality reviews of all types: narrative and systematic reviews of research evidence (qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods); meta-analyses, meta-summaries and meta-syntheses; aggregative and interpretive literature reviews.

Review protocols

  1. Top of page
  2. Review summaries
  3. Review papers
  4. Review protocols

To support authors in improving standards of conducting and reporting systematic reviews, JAN is introducing a new sub-section –Review protocols. A protocol is a vital component of any review and specifies in detail the rationale, hypothesis, question, methods and processes that reviewer(s) will follow. With some types of mixed method or qualitative reviews the protocol may evolve in an iterative way as the review progresses.

Detail within the protocol can be difficult to condense when translating the completed review into a single journal publication. Readers need sufficient detail to determine the methods, procedures and team roles to be assured that the review was conducted to rigorous standards. Information also needs to be conveyed about limitations to generalizability, potential bias, and conflicts of interest.

Protocol publication will provide authors with an opportunity to convey the detailed methods and processes of their review and allow greater scope for reporting findings and implications for research and practice in a subsequent publication. Guidance on writing Review protocols can be found on the JAN website.

We encourage submission of high-quality protocols of any type of review and envisage that authors will publish both their protocol and their completed review in JAN. Protocols that have been peer-reviewed prior to obtaining funding will be assessed by the Reviews Editor. Non-funded reviews will follow the usual JAN review process based on double-blind peer-review.