The complexity of searching the literature



Sindhu F, Dickson R. International Journal of Nursing Practice 1997; 3: 211–217

The complexity of searching the literature

The science of systematically reviewing literature has become a research process in its own right. The key word of course, is systematic. In the context of a systematic review this indicates that all possible sources have been comprehensively searched using a pre-defined search strategy designed to identify all relevant published and unpublished work. This paper illustrates the components of a comprehensive search, examines the yield of this approach and discusses the time and resource requirements for conducting the search. It uses as an example a recently completed systematic review. The paper goes on to discuss ways in which nurses can become more involved in conducting and using the results of good quality reviews.