the steps in planning a study to generate evidence

Course Project: Part 2—Literature Review


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This is a continuation of the Course Project presented in Week 2. Before you begin, review the Course Project Overview document located in the Week 2 Resources area.

The literature review is a critical piece in the research process because it helps a researcher determine what is currently known about a topic and identify gaps or further questions. Conducting a thorough literature review can be a time-consuming process, but the effort helps establish the foundation for everything that will follow. For this part of your Course Project, you will conduct a brief literature review to find information on the question you developed in Week 2. This will provide you with experience in searching databases and identifying applicable resources.

To prepare:

  • Review the information in Chapter 5 of the course text, focusing on the steps for conducting a literature review and for compiling your findings.
  • Using the question that you selected in your Week 2 Project (Part 1 of the Course Project), locate 5 or more full-text research articles that are relevant to your PICOT question. Include at least 1 systematic review and 1 integrative review if possible. Use the search tools and techniques mentioned in your readings this week to enhance the comprehensiveness and objectivity of your review. You may gather these articles from any appropriate source, but make sure at least 3 of these articles are available as full-text versions through Walden Library’s databases.
  • Read through the articles carefully. Eliminate studies that are not appropriate and add others to your list as needed. Although you may include more, you are expected to include a minimum of five articles. Complete a literature review summary table using the Literature Review Summary Table Templatelocated in this week’s Learning Resources.
  • Prepare to summarize and synthesize the literature using the information on writing a literature review found in Chapter 5 of the course text.

To complete:

Write a 3- to 4-page literature review that includes the following:

  • A synthesis of what the studies reveal about the current state of knowledge on the question that you developed
    • Point out inconsistencies and contradictions in the literature and offer possible explanations for inconsistencies.
  • Preliminary conclusions on whether the evidence provides strong support for a change in practice or whether further research is needed to adequately address your inquiry
  • Your literature review summary table with all references formatted in correct APA style

Required Readings

Polit, D. F., & Beck, C. T. (2017). Nursing research: Generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice (10th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer.

    • Chapter 3, “Key Concepts and Steps in Qualitative and Quantitative Research” (for review)
    • Chapter 4, “Research Problems, Research Questions, and Hypotheses”

This chapter focuses on the steps in planning a study to generate evidence. These include developing a research question, identifying variables, articulating a problem statement, and generating hypotheses.

  • Chapter 7, “Ethics in Nursing Research”

In this chapter, the focus is on the ethical dilemmas that occur when planning and conducting research and the ethical principles that have been enacted for protecting study participants.

Fouka, G., & Mantzorou, M. (2011). What are the major ethical issues in conducting research? Is there a conflict between the research ethics and the nature of nursing? Health Science Journal, 5(1), 3–14.

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

This article describes a literature review conducted to determine the most important ethical issues that nurses encounter when undertaking or participating in research. The authors detail the results of the review and make recommendations for solving some of the problems highlighted.

Newcomb, P. (2010). Evolving fairness in research on human subjects. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 23(3), 123–124.

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

In this article, the author describes some of the ethical controversies that may arise in conducting research in human subjects, especially with respect to ownership of genes. The author also stresses the importance of educating research subjects and their families about the ultimate purpose of research.

Yakov, G., Shilo, Y., & Shor, T. (2010). Nurses’ perceptions of ethical issues related to patients’ rights law. Nursing Ethics, 17(4), 501–510.

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

The authors of this article detail a study conducted to determine how nursing staff deal with ethical issues in relation to the law. The article emphasizes the difficulty staff had in distinguishing between legal and ethical problems. The authors make several recommendations to deal with legal and ethical problems.

Delwiche, F. (2008). Anatomy of a scholarly research presentation in the health sciences. Retrieved from

This presentation highlights the primary components of scholarly research articles. The presentation details the distinguishing factors of scholarly journals, the peer-review process, and the definition of “primary literature.”

American Nurses Association. (2001). Code of ethics for nurses with interpretive statements. Retrieved from

This website provides the code of ethics for nurses to be used in carrying out their responsibilities. There is also a detailed explanation of each provision.

Document: Literature Review Summary Table Template (Word document)

Note: You will use this document to complete the Project throughout this course.


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