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Literature searching and locating qualitative data and studies

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  2. Literature searching and locating qualitative data and studies
  3. References

Research methods for systematic and integrative reviews are continually evolving and developing to inform the conduct of future reviews. The numbers of published systematic and integrative reviews have increased since the early 1990s; see for example The Cochrane Library, Campbell Collaboration, The Joanna Briggs Foundation, JAN and other academic and professional journals. As well as being an editor, author, lead and co-reviewer of systematic and integrative reviews, I have been teaching this academic term a module on systematic reviews for health and social care and recognize the challenges of ‘reading and using’ reviews as well as ‘doing’ and ‘teaching how to do’ them.

The methods for systematic reviews of quantitative empirical studies are more established (Egger et al. 2005, Higgins & Green 2008) with those for qualitative research also developing apace (Sandelowksi & Barroso 2007). Developments in systematic reviews are helping to inform the methods for integrative reviews, which remain the most challenging as they seek to incorporate research from mixed designs and methods as well as policy literature (Evans 2007, Whittemore 2007).

Consequently the paper by Gorecki et al. (2010) in this issue of JAN (pp. 645–652) struck me as novel and very helpful in developing methods for systematic and integrative reviews. They evaluated five search strategies to locate qualitative patient reported data on the impact of pressure sores on quality of life. They investigated the effectiveness of research-methodology-based strategies with subject-specific ones to search and locate data from primary qualitative and mixed methods studies. Five search strategies on seven electronic databases were examined for sensitivity, specificity, precision and accuracy. Gorecki et al. found subject-specific search strategies identified all studies reporting qualitative data whereas research-methodology-based searches did not. MEDLINE, CINAHL and EMBASE databases produced the most yields. This study makes an important and valuable contribution not only to systematic and integrative reviews but empirical research in general as well as advancing knowledge on methods for searching the literature.

References

  1. Top of page
  2. Literature searching and locating qualitative data and studies
  3. References
  • Egger M., Smith G.D. & Altman D.G. (2005) Systematic Reviews in Health Care. Meta-analysis in Context. BMJ Publishing, London.
  • Evans D. (2007) Overview of methods. In Reviewing Research Evidence for Nursing Practice: Systematic Reviews (WebbC. & RoeB., eds), Wiley-Blackwells, Oxford. Chp 10, pp. 137148.
  • Gorecki C.A., Brown J.M., Briggs M. & Nixon J. (2010) Evaluation of five search strategies in retrieving qualitative patient-reported electronic data on the impact of pressure ulcers on quality of life. Journal of Advanced Nursing 66(3), 645–652.
  • Higgins J.P.T. & Green S. (2008) Cochrane Reviewer’s Handbook Version 5.0.1 (updated September 2008). Cochrane Collaboration. Retrieved from http://www.cochrane-handbook.org on 7 September 2009.
  • Sandelowksi M. & Barroso J. (2007) Handbook for Synthesizing Qualitative Research. Springer, New York.
  • Whittemore R. (2007) Rigour in integrative reviews. In Reviewing Research Evidence for Nursing Practice: Systematic Reviews (WebbC. & RoeB., eds), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford. Chp 11, pp. 149156.