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West J Nurs Res. 2003 Mar;25(2):179-92.

An example of the use of systematic reviews to answer an effectiveness question.

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  • 1College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan.


Systematic reviews assist nurses, other health care providers, decision makers, and consumers in managing the explosion of health care information by synthesizing valid data and reporting the effects of interventions. Nurses are increasingly using systematic reviews to guide their practice and develop policy. The purpose of the article is to outline the steps involved in conducting a systematic review with examples taken from a systematic review titled "Strategies to Manage the Behavioral Symptoms Associated With Alzheimer's Disease." The steps of a systematic review include: (a) formulating a well-defined question, (b) developing relevance and validity tools, (c) conducting a comprehensive search to retrieve published and unpublished reports, (d) assessing the reports using relevance and validity tools, (e) data extraction, (f) synthesis of the findings, and (g) report writing. Understanding the steps involved in a systematic review will assist nurses in critically appraising reviews and in conducting their own reviews.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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