You are required to write and submit for this assessment a 1000 word essay. The topics for the essay are listed below and you can spend some of the semester time preparing for this essay. A high standard of presentation is expected.
You will be required to write an essay addressing the following questions.
1-Why are reviews of the research literature important and what is their role in health care?
Review of research literature is a process of extracting information from existing research literature on a particular topic and providing a summary of information by critically analysing the credibility and value of the information (Wakefield 2014). It is a process of identifying, analysing and presenting an overview of the research findings on a chosen topic. The increasing number of research literature publications and busy schedule of practitioners strongly demands a concise means of getting summarised and disseminated information. Reviews of research literature are required by health care professional as part of their course of study, research process, clinical practice development and clinical decision making (Cronin, Ryan & Coughlan 2008). Research reviews play a number of roles in research and professional exchange of information such as providing answer to specific clinical inquiries, pooling data and synthesizing complementary studies (Dijkers 2009). This essay will discuss the importance of reviews of research literature and the roles they play in health care.
Type of reviews
Reviews of research literature mainly consist of traditional literature review and systematic review. Traditional or narrative reviews critiques and summarizes a body of research literature and draws conclusions about the specified topic(Cronin, Ryan & Coughlan 2008). In the traditional literature review the steps involved are selecting a review topic, searching the literature, analysing the literature and writing the report. Systematic review is summary of all research literature on a specific subject that use explicit methods to systematically search, critically appraise and synthesize the evidence from clinical research (Sutherland 2004). Systematic reviews of research literature use explicit and rigorous methods to identify all relevant literature, critically appraise all articles to generate a synthesized evidence (Riesenberg & Justice 2014). Good systematic reviews are considered the best source of evidence as they use more rigorous and well-defined systematic approach to reviewing literature on a specific topic to reduce biases (Sutherland 2004). Systematic reviews process involve developing a detailed protocol which include clearly defined review question, well-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria, literature search strategy including locating sources of literature, critical appraisal to select high quality studies, data extraction and synthesis and interpretation of results (Egger & Smith 2008).
Importance of reviews of research literature
In this era of information technology, people are bombarded with large numbers of research literature through internet, media and social networks. It is very difficult and time consuming to go through all available research articles for information and evidence. Reviews offer critically analysed summary of published research literature and are becoming indispensable for practitioners, academics and policy makers in keeping up with growing numbers of research articles (Dijkers 2009). Reviews provide integrated information for practitioners, academics and policy makers in their decision making process. The reasons for reviewing research literature includes eliciting information for developing policies and evidence based practice, research process and academic assessment(Cronin, Ryan & Coughlan 2008).
Role of research literature reviews in health care
Reviews of research literature play many roles in field of health care. They provide basis for many clinical decisions making, development of clinical practice guidelines and professional development. Health care practitioners often do not have time and resources to access and review all research articles to update their knowledge and skill. As research literature reviews provides a concise summary of information from many research articles on particular topic, they are very useful for health care practitioners to get information. At the same time research literature reviews also prevent clinicians from relying on one research study to inform and justify their practice as they provide evidence from many research studies. The value of research literature reviews should not be underestimated because all health care practitioners have a professional obligation to be current in their knowledge base and with the increasing number of research publications and other sources of information, keeping up with current information and research findings can be difficult(Rhoades 2011). Given the huge volumes of research articles published in health care, students and practitioners need condensed source of information such as research literature reviews, that enable them to remain up to date in their relevant fields (Dijkers 2009). Reviews of research literature also facilitate developing policy, clinical practice guidelines and decision-making in health care. In the absence of concrete evidence to support health policies or clinical decision making, reviews of research literature provide supportive information to make decision (Cronin, Ryan & Coughlan 2008). All reviews should include some recommendations or implications for practice, education and further research (Cronin, Ryan & Coughlan 2008). Literature review also help researcher to determine or define research questions or hypotheses by ruling out gaps or inconsistencies in the body of knowledge (Cronin, Ryan & Coughlan 2008).
Reviews of research literature critiques and summarizes all available and relevant literature and draws conclusions about the a specific subject (Cronin, Ryan & Coughlan 2008). They provide recommendations or implications for practice, identify areas of knowledge inconsistencies for future researches and point out strengths and weaknesses in the original research. As Dijkers (2009) stated that readers using published literature for self-education or for application to a specific clinical problem, prefer review articles over other types, reviews of research literature serve as a source of information for many health care professionals. Given the increasing number of research publications, reviews of research literature provide concise overview for readers. Therefore reviews of research play vital role in health care as source of information for clinical practice development, research processes, clinical decision making and developing health policies, in absences of best evidence. Evidence generated through good systematic review is considered to be the best evidence. However as both traditional reviews and systematic reviews are prone to some degree of biases, readers should critically appraise the reviews to enhance health care through evidence based practice.