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Research results have expiration dates: ensuring timely systematic reviews


  • Julie Barroso PhD, ANP, APRN, BC,

    Corresponding author
    1. Associate Professor, Duke University School of Nursing, Durham, NC, USA
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  • Margarete Sandelowski PhD, RN, FAAN,

    1. Cary C. Boshamer Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
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  • Corrine I. Voils PhD

    1. Research Assistant Professor, Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care, Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center & Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA
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Julie Barroso
Duke University School of Nursing
DUMC Box 3322
Durham, NC 27710


Time and timeliness are key issues in appraising and ensuring the clinical relevance of systematic reviews. Time considerations entering the systematic review process include the history of the clinical problem, disease, or treatment that is the target of the review, and the history of the research conducted to address it. These considerations guide: (i) formulation of the research problems and questions; (ii) setting of parameters for the search and retrieval of studies; (iii) determination of inclusion and exclusion criteria; (iv) appraisal of the clinical relevance of findings; (v) selection of the findings that will be synthesized; and (vi) interpretation of the results of that synthesis.