Conducting a Literature Review

  • Literature Review
  • Developing a Topic
  • Planning Your Literature Review
  • Developing a Search Strategy
  • Managing Citations
  • Critical Appraisal Tools
  • Writing a Literature Review

Appraise Your Research Articles

The structure of a literature review should include the following :

The critical evaluation of each work should consider :

Reviewing the Literature

While conducting a review of the literature, maximize the time you devote to writing this part of your paper by thinking broadly about what you should be looking for and evaluating. Review not just what the articles are saying, but how are they saying it.

Some questions to ask:

Tools for Critical Appraisal

Now, that you have found articles based on your research question you can appraise the quality of those articles. These are resources you can use to appraise different study designs.

Centre for Evidence Based Medicine (Oxford)

University of Glasgow

"AFP uses the Strength-of-Recommendation Taxonomy (SORT), to label key recommendations in clinical review articles."

Seton Hall logo

A guide to critical appraisal of evidence : Nursing2020 Critical Care

critical appraisal of literature review example

Secondary Logo

Journal logo.

Colleague's E-mail is Invalid

Your message has been successfully sent to your colleague.

Save my selection

A guide to critical appraisal of evidence

Fineout-Overholt, Ellen PhD, RN, FNAP, FAAN

Ellen Fineout-Overholt is the Mary Coulter Dowdy Distinguished Professor of Nursing at the University of Texas at Tyler School of Nursing, Tyler, Tex.

The author has disclosed no financial relationships related to this article.

Critical appraisal is the assessment of research studies' worth to clinical practice. Critical appraisal—the heart of evidence-based practice—involves four phases: rapid critical appraisal, evaluation, synthesis , and recommendation. This article reviews each phase and provides examples, tips, and caveats to help evidence appraisers successfully determine what is known about a clinical issue. Patient outcomes are improved when clinicians apply a body of evidence to daily practice.

How do nurses assess the quality of clinical research? This article outlines a stepwise approach to critical appraisal of research studies' worth to clinical practice: rapid critical appraisal, evaluation, synthesis , and recommendation. When critical care nurses apply a body of valid, reliable, and applicable evidence to daily practice, patient outcomes are improved.


Critical care nurses can best explain the reasoning for their clinical actions when they understand the worth of the research supporting their practices. In c ritical appraisal , clinicians assess the worth of research studies to clinical practice. Given that achieving improved patient outcomes is the reason patients enter the healthcare system, nurses must be confident their care techniques will reliably achieve best outcomes.

Nurses must verify that the information supporting their clinical care is valid, reliable, and applicable. Validity of research refers to the quality of research methods used, or how good of a job researchers did conducting a study. Reliability of research means similar outcomes can be achieved when the care techniques of a study are replicated by clinicians. Applicability of research means it was conducted in a similar sample to the patients for whom the findings will be applied. These three criteria determine a study's worth in clinical practice.

Appraising the worth of research requires a standardized approach. This approach applies to both quantitative research (research that deals with counting things and comparing those counts) and qualitative research (research that describes experiences and perceptions). The word critique has a negative connotation. In the past, some clinicians were taught that studies with flaws should be discarded. Today, it is important to consider all valid and reliable research informative to what we understand as best practice. Therefore, the author developed the critical appraisal methodology that enables clinicians to determine quickly which evidence is worth keeping and which must be discarded because of poor validity, reliability, or applicability.

Evidence-based practice process

The evidence-based practice (EBP) process is a seven-step problem-solving approach that begins with data gathering (see Seven steps to EBP ). During daily practice, clinicians gather data supporting inquiry into a particular clinical issue (Step 0). The description is then framed as an answerable question (Step 1) using the PICOT question format ( P opulation of interest; I ssue of interest or intervention; C omparison to the intervention; desired O utcome; and T ime for the outcome to be achieved). 1 Consistently using the PICOT format helps ensure that all elements of the clinical issue are covered. Next, clinicians conduct a systematic search to gather data answering the PICOT question (Step 2). Using the PICOT framework, clinicians can systematically search multiple databases to find available studies to help determine the best practice to achieve the desired outcome for their patients. When the systematic search is completed, the work of critical appraisal begins (Step 3). The known group of valid and reliable studies that answers the PICOT question is called the body of evidence and is the foundation for the best practice implementation (Step 4). Next, clinicians evaluate integration of best evidence with clinical expertise and patient preferences and values to determine if the outcomes in the studies are realized in practice (Step 5). Because healthcare is a community of practice, it is important that experiences with evidence implementation be shared, whether the outcome is what was expected or not. This enables critical care nurses concerned with similar care issues to better understand what has been successful and what has not (Step 6).

Critical appraisal of evidence

The first phase of critical appraisal, rapid critical appraisal, begins with determining which studies will be kept in the body of evidence. All valid, reliable, and applicable studies on the topic should be included. This is accomplished using design-specific checklists with key markers of good research. When clinicians determine a study is one they want to keep (a “keeper” study) and that it belongs in the body of evidence, they move on to phase 2, evaluation. 2

In the evaluation phase, the keeper studies are put together in a table so that they can be compared as a body of evidence, rather than individual studies. This phase of critical appraisal helps clinicians identify what is already known about a clinical issue. In the third phase, synthesis , certain data that provide a snapshot of a particular aspect of the clinical issue are pulled out of the evaluation table to showcase what is known. These snapshots of information underpin clinicians' decision-making and lead to phase 4, recommendation. A recommendation is a specific statement based on the body of evidence indicating what should be done—best practice. Critical appraisal is not complete without a specific recommendation. Each of the phases is explained in more detail below.

Phase 1: Rapid critical appraisal . Rapid critical appraisal involves using two tools that help clinicians determine if a research study is worthy of keeping in the body of evidence. The first tool, General Appraisal Overview for All Studies (GAO), covers the basics of all research studies (see Elements of the General Appraisal Overview for All Studies ). Sometimes, clinicians find gaps in knowledge about certain elements of research studies (for example, sampling or statistics) and need to review some content. Conducting an internet search for resources that explain how to read a research paper, such as an instructional video or step-by-step guide, can be helpful. Finding basic definitions of research methods often helps resolve identified gaps.

To accomplish the GAO, it is best to begin with finding out why the study was conducted and how it answers the PICOT question (for example, does it provide information critical care nurses want to know from the literature). If the study purpose helps answer the PICOT question, then the type of study design is evaluated. The study design is compared with the hierarchy of evidence for the type of PICOT question. The higher the design falls within the hierarchy or levels of evidence, the more confidence nurses can have in its finding, if the study was conducted well. 3,4 Next, find out what the researchers wanted to learn from their study. These are called the research questions or hypotheses. Research questions are just what they imply; insufficient information from theories or the literature are available to guide an educated guess, so a question is asked. Hypotheses are reasonable expectations guided by understanding from theory and other research that predicts what will be found when the research is conducted. The research questions or hypotheses provide the purpose of the study.

Next, the sample size is evaluated. Expectations of sample size are present for every study design. As an example, consider as a rule that quantitative study designs operate best when there is a sample size large enough to establish that relationships do not exist by chance. In general, the more participants in a study, the more confidence in the findings. Qualitative designs operate best with fewer people in the sample because these designs represent a deeper dive into the understanding or experience of each person in the study. 5 It is always important to describe the sample, as clinicians need to know if the study sample resembles their patients. It is equally important to identify the major variables in the study and how they are defined because this helps clinicians best understand what the study is about.

The final step in the GAO is to consider the analyses that answer the study research questions or confirm the study hypothesis. This is another opportunity for clinicians to learn, as learning about statistics in healthcare education has traditionally focused on conducting statistical tests as opposed to interpreting statistical tests. Understanding what the statistics indicate about the study findings is an imperative of critical appraisal of quantitative evidence.

The second tool is one of the variety of rapid critical appraisal checklists that speak to validity, reliability, and applicability of specific study designs, which are available at varying locations (see Critical appraisal resources ). When choosing a checklist to implement with a group of critical care nurses, it is important to verify that the checklist is complete and simple to use. Be sure to check that the checklist has answers to three key questions. The first question is: Are the results of the study valid? Related subquestions should help nurses discern if certain markers of good research design are present within the study. For example, identifying that study participants were randomly assigned to study groups is an essential marker of good research for a randomized controlled trial. Checking these essential markers helps clinicians quickly review a study to check off these important requirements. Clinical judgment is required when the study lacks any of the identified quality markers. Clinicians must discern whether the absence of any of the essential markers negates the usefulness of the study findings. 6-9


The second question is: What are the study results? This is answered by reviewing whether the study found what it was expecting to and if those findings were meaningful to clinical practice. Basic knowledge of how to interpret statistics is important for understanding quantitative studies, and basic knowledge of qualitative analysis greatly facilitates understanding those results. 6-9

The third question is: Are the results applicable to my patients? Answering this question involves consideration of the feasibility of implementing the study findings into the clinicians' environment as well as any contraindication within the clinicians' patient populations. Consider issues such as organizational politics, financial feasibility, and patient preferences. 6-9

When these questions have been answered, clinicians must decide about whether to keep the particular study in the body of evidence. Once the final group of keeper studies is identified, clinicians are ready to move into the phase of critical appraisal. 6-9

Phase 2: Evaluation . The goal of evaluation is to determine how studies within the body of evidence agree or disagree by identifying common patterns of information across studies. For example, an evaluator may compare whether the same intervention is used or if the outcomes are measured in the same way across all studies. A useful tool to help clinicians accomplish this is an evaluation table. This table serves two purposes: first, it enables clinicians to extract data from the studies and place the information in one table for easy comparison with other studies; and second, it eliminates the need for further searching through piles of periodicals for the information. (See Bonus Content: Evaluation table headings .) Although the information for each of the columns may not be what clinicians consider as part of their daily work, the information is important for them to understand about the body of evidence so that they can explain the patterns of agreement or disagreement they identify across studies. Further, the in-depth understanding of the body of evidence from the evaluation table helps with discussing the relevant clinical issue to facilitate best practice. Their discussion comes from a place of knowledge and experience, which affords the most confidence. The patterns and in-depth understanding are what lead to the synthesis phase of critical appraisal.

The key to a successful evaluation table is simplicity. Entering data into the table in a simple, consistent manner offers more opportunity for comparing studies. 6-9 For example, using abbreviations versus complete sentences in all columns except the final one allows for ease of comparison. An example might be the dependent variable of depression defined as “feelings of severe despondency and dejection” in one study and as “feeling sad and lonely” in another study. 10 Because these are two different definitions, they need to be different dependent variables. Clinicians must use their clinical judgment to discern that these different dependent variables require different names and abbreviations and how these further their comparison across studies.


Sample and theoretical or conceptual underpinnings are important to understanding how studies compare. Similar samples and settings across studies increase agreement. Several studies with the same conceptual framework increase the likelihood of common independent variables and dependent variables. The findings of a study are dependent on the analyses conducted. That is why an analysis column is dedicated to recording the kind of analysis used (for example, the name of the statistical analyses for quantitative studies). Only statistics that help answer the clinical question belong in this column. The findings column must have a result for each of the analyses listed; however, in the actual results, not in words. For example, a clinician lists a t -test as a statistic in the analysis column, so a t -value should reflect whether the groups are different as well as probability ( P -value or confidence interval) that reflects statistical significance. The explanation for these results would go in the last column that describes worth of the research to practice. This column is much more flexible and contains other information such as the level of evidence, the studies' strengths and limitations, any caveats about the methodology, or other aspects of the study that would be helpful to its use in practice. The final piece of information in this column is a recommendation for how this study would be used in practice. Each of the studies in the body of evidence that addresses the clinical question is placed in one evaluation table to facilitate the ease of comparing across the studies. This comparison sets the stage for synthesis .

Phase 3: Synthesis . In the synthesis phase, clinicians pull out key information from the evaluation table to produce a snapshot of the body of evidence. A table also is used here to feature what is known and help all those viewing the synthesis table to come to the same conclusion. A hypothetical example table included here demonstrates that a music therapy intervention is effective in reducing the outcome of oxygen saturation (SaO 2 ) in six of the eight studies in the body of evidence that evaluated that outcome (see Sample synthesis table: Impact on outcomes ). Simply using arrows to indicate effect offers readers a collective view of the agreement across studies that prompts action. Action may be to change practice, affirm current practice, or conduct research to strengthen the body of evidence by collaborating with nurse scientists.

When synthesizing evidence, there are at least two recommended synthesis tables, including the level-of-evidence table and the impact-on-outcomes table for quantitative questions, such as therapy or relevant themes table for “meaning” questions about human experience. (See Bonus Content: Level of evidence for intervention studies: Synthesis of type .) The sample synthesis table also demonstrates that a final column labeled synthesis indicates agreement across the studies. Of the three outcomes, the most reliable for clinicians to see with music therapy is SaO 2 , with positive results in six out of eight studies. The second most reliable outcome would be reducing increased respiratory rate (RR). Parental engagement has the least support as a reliable outcome, with only two of five studies showing positive results. Synthesis tables make the recommendation clear to all those who are involved in caring for that patient population. Although the two synthesis tables mentioned are a great start, the evidence may require more synthesis tables to adequately explain what is known. These tables are the foundation that supports clinically meaningful recommendations.

Phase 4: Recommendation . Recommendations are definitive statements based on what is known from the body of evidence. For example, with an intervention question, clinicians should be able to discern from the evidence if they will reliably get the desired outcome when they deliver the intervention as it was in the studies. In the sample synthesis table, the recommendation would be to implement the music therapy intervention across all settings with the population, and measure SaO 2 and RR, with the expectation that both would be optimally improved with the intervention. When the synthesis demonstrates that studies consistently verify an outcome occurs as a result of an intervention, however that intervention is not currently practiced, care is not best practice. Therefore, a firm recommendation to deliver the intervention and measure the appropriate outcomes must be made, which concludes critical appraisal of the evidence.

A recommendation that is off limits is conducting more research, as this is not the focus of clinicians' critical appraisal. In the case of insufficient evidence to make a recommendation for practice change, the recommendation would be to continue current practice and monitor outcomes and processes until there are more reliable studies to be added to the body of evidence. Researchers who use the critical appraisal process may indeed identify gaps in knowledge, research methods, or analyses, for example, that they then recommend studies that would fill in the identified gaps. In this way, clinicians and nurse scientists work together to build relevant, efficient bodies of evidence that guide clinical practice.

Evidence into action

Critical appraisal helps clinicians understand the literature so they can implement it. Critical care nurses have a professional and ethical responsibility to make sure their care is based on a solid foundation of available evidence that is carefully appraised using the phases outlined here. Critical appraisal allows for decision-making based on evidence that demonstrates reliable outcomes. Any other approach to the literature is likely haphazard and may lead to misguided care and unreliable outcomes. 11 Evidence translated into practice should have the desired outcomes and their measurement defined from the body of evidence. It is also imperative that all critical care nurses carefully monitor care delivery outcomes to establish that best outcomes are sustained. With the EBP paradigm as the basis for decision-making and the EBP process as the basis for addressing clinical issues, critical care nurses can improve patient, provider, and system outcomes by providing best care.

Seven steps to EBP

Step 0–A spirit of inquiry to notice internal data that indicate an opportunity for positive change.

Step 1– Ask a clinical question using the PICOT question format.

Step 2–Conduct a systematic search to find out what is already known about a clinical issue.

Step 3–Conduct a critical appraisal (rapid critical appraisal, evaluation, synthesis , and recommendation).

Step 4–Implement best practices by blending external evidence with clinician expertise and patient preferences and values.

Step 5–Evaluate evidence implementation to see if study outcomes happened in practice and if the implementation went well.

Step 6–Share project results, good or bad, with others in healthcare.

Adapted from: Steps of the evidence-based practice (EBP) process leading to high-quality healthcare and best patient outcomes. © Melnyk & Fineout-Overholt, 2017. Used with permission.

Critical appraisal resources

A full set of critical appraisal checklists are available in the appendices.

Bonus content!

This article includes supplementary online-exclusive material. Visit the online version of this article at to access this content.

critical appraisal; decision-making; evaluation of research; evidence-based practice; synthesis

critical appraisal of literature review example

Systematic Reviews & Other Review Types

Tools for critical appraisal.

"Critical appraisal skills enable you to assess the trustworthiness, relevance and results of published papers so that you can decide if they are believable and useful."  

( )

Learn more about Critical Appraisal

AHRQ-Assessing the Risk of Bias in Systematic Reviews of Healthcare Interventions

critical appraisal of literature review example

Critical Appraisal Checklists by specific Study Design type

Randomized Controlled Trials

ROB 2.0 Risk Of Bias Tool

There are 3 variations of the tool based on trial design.  Choose the appropriate version.

1.  Individually randomized, parallel group trials (traditional RCT)

2.  Cluster randomized, parallel group trials (like traditional but randomized by groups)

3.  Individual randomized, cross-over trials (randomization occurs to determine the order the patient receives both treatments)

CASP: Randomised Controlled Trial Appraisal Tool Summary: Critical Appraisal Skills Program (CASP): RCT CAT is a methodological checklist which provides key criteria relevant to randomised controlled trials. Authors: Public Health Resource Unit, NHS, England

Non-randomized Studies or Observational Studies:

ROBINS-I Risk of Bias for non-randomized (observational) studies or cohorts of Interventions​

ROBINS-E Risk of Bias for non-randomized (observational) studies or cohorts of Exposures  other than interventions, including environmental and occupational exposures​

Newcastle-Ottawa scale (NOS) -most widely used for case control or cohort studies

IHE Case Series Studies Critical Appraisal Checklist

JBI Critical Appraisal Checklist for Case Series

JBI Critical Appraisal Checklist for Case Reports

The Methodological Index for Non-Randomized Studies (MINOR) is a tool for assessing non-randomized interventional studies

This link will open a PDF document.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) methodological checklist for cross-sectional/prevalence studies

AXIS-To assess the quality of cross-sectional/prevalence studies

This link will open a PDF document.

The TREND Statement Summary: The TREND (Transparent Reporting of Evaluations with Nonrandomized Designs) statement is a 22-item checklist specifically developed to guide standardized reporting of nonrandomized controlled trials.

The STROBE Statement

Strengthening the reporting of observational studies (cohort, case-control, and cross-sectional)

Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT)-used for qualitative, quantitative, and/or mixed methods studies . Helpful for those working on a Mixed Methods Review . 

This link will open a PDF document.


Public Health:

MetaQat - Meta-Tool for appraising all types of public health evidence


CanChild for qualitative reviews 

These links will open a PDF document.  Guidelines  and  Form

Quantitative Research (Public Health Research)

EPHPP- Quality Assessment tool for Quantitative Studies 

Animal Research:

Systematic Review Centre for Laboratory Animal Experimentation (SYRCLE) risk of bias assessment tool for assessing animal studies



(invivo studies) Review the ARRIVE guidelines

Critical Appraisal of Studies using Animal Models

Diagnostic Accuracy

To evaluate the risk of bias and applicability of primary diagnostic accuracy studies.

This link will open a PDF document.

CASP: Diagnostic Test Studies  

This link will open a PDF document.

Centre for Evidence Based Medicine (CEBM) Diagnosis Critical Appraisal Worksheet  

Library and Information Science Research

Grey Literature

Critical Appraisal of Clinical Practice Guidelines

International tool for the assessment of practice guidelines

Critical Appraisal of Systematic Reviews

ROBIS- A tool for assessing the risk of bias in systematic reviews.

Joanna Briggs Critical Appraisal for Systematic Reviews Checklist-

This link will open a PDF document.

AMSTAR 2-A Measurement Tool to Assess (quality assessment) of Systematic Reviews ​

Health-Evidence Appraisal Tool for Reviews

This link will open a PDF document.

Critical Appraisal Checklists

General Worksheets for Critical Appraisal of a variety of study designs:

Grading the Strength of Evidence

Tools for Creating Risk of Bias Figures

Temple University

University libraries.

See all library locations

Twitter Icon

Need help? Email us at [email protected]

This example shows how a literature review from a PhD thesis can be analysed for its structure, purpose and content.

Three sections of the thesis are analysed to show the:

Access the thesis

Co-witnesses and the effects of discussion on eyewitness memory by Helen M Paterson

Overview of thesis (introduction)

This introductory section is less than two pages long.

The first paragraph:

The other paragraphs describe the content and purpose of each section of the thesis.

Literature review

The literature review is made of up of two chapters.

Chapter 1: Literature review of relevant research

The overall goals of this chapter are to firstly establish the significance of the general field of study, and then identify a place where a new contribution could be made.

The bulk of the chapter critically evaluates the methodologies used in this field to identify the appropriate approach for investigating the research questions.

Chapter 2: Theoretical explanations of memory conformity

Chapter 5, study 3: co-witness contamination.

This chapter has the following structure:

The introduction introduces the particular study to be reported on, and includes a three-and-a-half page literature review.

The literature review in this chapter:

Learning Advisers

Our advisers can help undergraduate and postgraduate students in all programs clarify ideas from workshops, help you develop skills and give feedback on assignments.

How a Learning Adviser can help

EBP Learning Module

Appraise, Apply, and Assess the Evidence

Critical appraisal of literature, what is critical appraisal.

“A process of carefully and systematically examining research to judge its trustworthiness, value, and relevance in a particular context” [1] .

Just because a study is the 'best' type of study for the clinical question, you cannot necessarily be confident of the study conclusions. Critical appraisal is the process of systematically examining research evidence to assess its validity, results, and relevance before using it to inform a decision.

If you have been fortunate enough to find a recent systematic review of evidence from a reliable source to answer your clinical question you will not have to undertake the process of critical appraisal. However, if you have found one or two individual studies you will need to assess the quality of the evidence to decide whether you wish to apply the evidence in practice.

For all non-urgent CIAP enquiries , please use the CIAP Request Form in SARA .

For urgent issues , please call the Statewide Service Desk on 1300 28 55 33 and press 2 for clinical. If the agent is unable to assist, you’ll be transferred directly to the CIAP team.

If you are not a member of NSW Health and would like to get in touch, please submit your enquiries here .



Best Practice for Literature Searching

Deciding what to include in your review through critical appraisal

Once you have narrowed down your pool of results, it's time to begin critically appraising your articles.  Using a checklist helps you scrutinise articles in a consistent, structured way.  

Questions to consider include: 

Working through the questions will help you identify the strengths and weakness of each article, and also identify points to draw on when you write about the literature. 

Additional critical appraisal checklists

critical appraisal of literature review example

REFLECT provides a  checklist for evaluating randomized control trials in livestock and food safety. 

critical appraisal of literature review example

CASP provides  checklists  for critical appraisal of studies related to health.

critical appraisal of literature review example

JBI provides checklists for critical appraisal of studies related to health.

Documenting critical appraisal decisions

As you closely examine full articles, you will be making judgements about why to include  or exclude  each study from your review.  Documenting your reasoning will help you reassure yourself and demonstrate to others that you have been systematic and unbiased in your appr aisal decisions.

critical appraisal of literature review example

Keeping track of what you have excluded, and why, will be very helpful if you must defend your work—for instance, if your literature review is part of a dissertation or thesis. 

critical appraisal of literature review example

Pulling all the literature you will include in your review into a single chart is a good way to begin to synthesise the literature. 

Best practice!

BEST PRACTICE RECOMMENDATION :  If you include any direct quotes in your chart (or in any notes) be sure to use quotation marks so that you don’t later mistake the words for your own.

BEST PRACTICE RECOMMENDATION: The more carefully you record each of the steps of your process, the more easily reproducible it will be. This is especially important for research abstracts and articles found in conference proceedings.

Please enter both an email address and a password.

Account login

Need to reset your password?  Enter the email address which you used to register on this site (or your membership/contact number) and we'll email you a link to reset it. You must complete the process within 2hrs of receiving the link.

We've sent you an email.

An email has been sent to Simply follow the link provided in the email to reset your password. If you can't find the email please check your junk or spam folder and add [email protected] to your address book.

critical appraisal of literature review example

08 Dec 2017

Kirsty Morrison

Critical appraisal is the process of carefully and systematically examining research to judge its trustworthiness, and its value and relevance in a particular context.

Amanda Burls, What is Critical Appraisal?

Critical Appraisal 1

Why is critical appraisal needed?

Literature searches using databases like Medline or EMBASE often result in an overwhelming volume of results which can vary in quality. Similarly, those who browse medical literature for the purposes of CPD or in response to a clinical query will know that there are vast amounts of content available. Critical appraisal helps to reduce the burden and allow you to focus on articles that are relevant to the research question, and that can reliably support or refute its claims with high-quality evidence, or identify high-level research relevant to your practice.

Critical Appraisal 2

Critical appraisal allows us to:

Critical appraisal helps to separate what is significant from what is not. One way we use critical appraisal in the Library is to prioritise the most clinically relevant content for our Current Awareness Updates .

How to critically appraise a paper

There are some general rules to help you, including a range of checklists highlighted at the end of this blog. Some key questions to consider when critically appraising a paper:

And an important consideration for surgeons:

At the end of the appraisal process you should have a better appreciation of how strong the evidence is, and ultimately whether or not you should apply it to your patients.

Further resources:

Kirsty Morrison, Information Specialist

Share this page:

U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

The .gov means it’s official. Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.

The site is secure. The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Save citation to file

Email citation, add to collections.

Add to My Bibliography

Your saved search, create a file for external citation management software, your rss feed.

Critical Appraisal of a Systematic Review: A Concise Review


Objectives: Concise definitive review of how to read and critically appraise a systematic review.

Data sources: None.

Study selection: Current literature describing the conduct, reporting, and appraisal of systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

Data extraction: Best practices for conducting, reporting, and appraising systematic review were summarized.

Data synthesis: A systematic review is a review of a clearly formulated question that uses systematic and explicit methods to identify, select, and critically appraise relevant original research, and to collect and analyze data from the studies that are included in the review. Critical appraisal methods address both the credibility (quality of conduct) and rate the confidence in the quality of summarized evidence from a systematic review. The A Measurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews-2 tool is a widely used practical tool to appraise the conduct of a systematic review. Confidence in estimates of effect is determined by assessing for risk of bias, inconsistency of results, imprecision, indirectness of evidence, and publication bias.

Conclusions: Systematic reviews are transparent and reproducible summaries of research and conclusions drawn from them are only as credible and reliable as their development process and the studies which form the systematic review. Applying evidence from a systematic review to patient care considers whether the results can be directly applied, whether all important outcomes have been considered, and if the benefits are worth potential harms and costs.

Copyright © 2022 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Conflict of interest statement

Dr. Hill’s institution received funding from Fresenius Kabi and the Medical Faculty Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen; she received funding from Fresenius Kabi. The remaining authors have disclosed that they do not have any potential conflicts of interest.

Similar articles

Publication types

LinkOut - more resources

Full text sources.

full text provider logo

NCBI Literature Resources

MeSH PMC Bookshelf Disclaimer

The PubMed wordmark and PubMed logo are registered trademarks of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Unauthorized use of these marks is strictly prohibited.

Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.

How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates

Published on January 2, 2023 by Shona McCombes .

What is a literature review? A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources on a specific topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research that you can later apply to your paper, thesis, or dissertation topic .

There are five key steps to writing a literature review:

A good literature review doesn’t just summarize sources—it analyzes, synthesizes , and critically evaluates to give a clear picture of the state of knowledge on the subject.

Table of contents

What is the purpose of a literature review, examples of literature reviews, step 1 – search for relevant literature, step 2 – evaluate and select sources, step 3 – identify themes, debates, and gaps, step 4 – outline your literature review’s structure, step 5 – write your literature review, free lecture slides, frequently asked questions, introduction.

When you write a thesis , dissertation , or research paper , you will likely have to conduct a literature review to situate your research within existing knowledge. The literature review gives you a chance to:

Writing literature reviews is a particularly important skill if you want to apply for graduate school or pursue a career in research. We’ve written a step-by-step guide that you can follow below.

Literature review guide

Writing literature reviews can be quite challenging! A good starting point could be to look at some examples, depending on what kind of literature review you’d like to write.

You can also check out our templates with literature review examples and sample outlines at the links below.

Download Word doc Download Google doc

Receive feedback on language, structure, and formatting

Professional editors proofread and edit your paper by focusing on:

See an example

critical appraisal of literature review example

Before you begin searching for literature, you need a clearly defined topic .

If you are writing the literature review section of a dissertation or research paper, you will search for literature related to your research problem and questions .

Make a list of keywords

Start by creating a list of keywords related to your research question. Include each of the key concepts or variables you’re interested in, and list any synonyms and related terms. You can add to this list as you discover new keywords in the process of your literature search.

Search for relevant sources

Use your keywords to begin searching for sources. Some useful databases to search for journals and articles include:

You can also use boolean operators to help narrow down your search.

Make sure to read the abstract to find out whether an article is relevant to your question. When you find a useful book or article, you can check the bibliography to find other relevant sources.

You likely won’t be able to read absolutely everything that has been written on your topic, so it will be necessary to evaluate which sources are most relevant to your research question.

For each publication, ask yourself:

Make sure the sources you use are credible , and make sure you read any landmark studies and major theories in your field of research.

You can use our template to summarize and evaluate sources you’re thinking about using. Click on either button below to download.

Take notes and cite your sources

As you read, you should also begin the writing process. Take notes that you can later incorporate into the text of your literature review.

It is important to keep track of your sources with citations to avoid plagiarism . It can be helpful to make an annotated bibliography , where you compile full citation information and write a paragraph of summary and analysis for each source. This helps you remember what you read and saves time later in the process.

To begin organizing your literature review’s argument and structure, be sure you understand the connections and relationships between the sources you’ve read. Based on your reading and notes, you can look for:

This step will help you work out the structure of your literature review and (if applicable) show how your own research will contribute to existing knowledge.

There are various approaches to organizing the body of a literature review. Depending on the length of your literature review, you can combine several of these strategies (for example, your overall structure might be thematic, but each theme is discussed chronologically).


The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time. However, if you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order.

Try to analyze patterns, turning points and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred.

If you have found some recurring central themes, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic.

For example, if you are reviewing literature about inequalities in migrant health outcomes, key themes might include healthcare policy, language barriers, cultural attitudes, legal status, and economic access.


If you draw your sources from different disciplines or fields that use a variety of research methods , you might want to compare the results and conclusions that emerge from different approaches. For example:


A literature review is often the foundation for a theoretical framework . You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts.

You might argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach, or combine various theoretical concepts to create a framework for your research.

Like any other academic text , your literature review should have an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion . What you include in each depends on the objective of your literature review.

The introduction should clearly establish the focus and purpose of the literature review.

Depending on the length of your literature review, you might want to divide the body into subsections. You can use a subheading for each theme, time period, or methodological approach.

As you write, you can follow these tips:

In the conclusion, you should summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance.

When you’ve finished writing and revising your literature review, don’t forget to proofread thoroughly before submitting. Not a language expert? Check out Scribbr’s professional proofreading services !

This article has been adapted into lecture slides that you can use to teach your students about writing a literature review.

Scribbr slides are free to use, customize, and distribute for educational purposes.

Open Google Slides Download PowerPoint

A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources (such as books, journal articles, and theses) related to a specific topic or research question .

It is often written as part of a thesis, dissertation , or research paper , in order to situate your work in relation to existing knowledge.

There are several reasons to conduct a literature review at the beginning of a research project:

Writing the literature review shows your reader how your work relates to existing research and what new insights it will contribute.

The literature review usually comes near the beginning of your thesis or dissertation . After the introduction , it grounds your research in a scholarly field and leads directly to your theoretical framework or methodology .

A literature review is a survey of credible sources on a topic, often used in dissertations , theses, and research papers . Literature reviews give an overview of knowledge on a subject, helping you identify relevant theories and methods, as well as gaps in existing research. Literature reviews are set up similarly to other  academic texts , with an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion .

An  annotated bibliography is a list of  source references that has a short description (called an annotation ) for each of the sources. It is often assigned as part of the research process for a  paper .  

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

McCombes, S. (2023, January 02). How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates. Scribbr. Retrieved March 19, 2023, from

Is this article helpful?

Shona McCombes

Shona McCombes

Other students also liked, what is a theoretical framework | guide to organizing, what is a research methodology | steps & tips, how to write a research proposal | examples & templates, what is your plagiarism score.

We use cookies to ensure you receive the best experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you agree to the use of cookies and similar technologies. Read our cookie policy and how to disable them I agree

Your web browser is outdated and may be insecure

The RCN recommends using an updated browser such as Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome

Critical Appraisal

Use this guide to find information resources about critical appraisal including checklists, books and journal articles.

Key Resources

Book cover

book cover

Book cover

Book cover

Book cover

Book cover

Book cover

Book cover

Book cover

Book cover

Book cover

Book subject search

Journal articles

Shea BJ and others (2017) AMSTAR 2: a critical appraisal tool for systematic reviews that include randomised or non-randomised studies of healthcare interventions or both, British Medical Journal, 358.

Journal of Research in Nursing

RCN library staff

Caroline Lynch

Editor of this guide

RCN Library and Archive Service

Upcoming events relating to this subject guide

Person using a computer to search Emcare

Know How to Search Emcare

Learn about using Emcare and Ovid databases for literature searches at this event for RCN members.

Hands typing on a computer doing a library search

Know How to Search CINAHL

Learn about using the CINAHL database for literature searches at this event for RCN members.

Two people looking at a computer

Know How to Manage References with Zotero

Learn how to use Zotero reference management software at this event for RCN members

Library Studies. Get online get ahead with RCN Libraries.

Get online and get ahead with RCN Libraries

Kick start the new academic year and find out how the RCN Library and Archive Service can assist you with your studies.

Page last updated - 28/10/2022

Connect with us:

© 2023 Royal College of Nursing


Literature Reviewing

Writing in the Health and Social Sciences: Literature Reviews and Synthesis Tools

Systematic Literature Reviews: Steps & Resources

critical appraisal of literature review example

These steps for conducting a systematic literature review are listed below . 

Also see subpages for more information about:

Literature Review & Systematic Review Steps

1. Develop a Focused   Question 

Consider the PICO Format: Population/Problem, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome

Focus on defining the Population or Problem and Intervention (don't narrow by Comparison or Outcome just yet!)

"What are the effects of the Pilates method for patients with low back pain?"

Tools & Additional Resources:

2. Scope the Literature

A "scoping search" investigates the breadth and/or depth of the initial question or may identify a gap in the literature. 

Eligible studies may be located by searching in:

When searching, if possible, translate terms to controlled vocabulary of the database. Use text word searching when necessary.

Use Boolean operators to connect search terms:

Search:  pilates AND ("low back pain"  OR  backache )

Download a Boolean worksheet (PDF)

3. Refine & Expand Your Search

Expand your search strategy with synonymous search terms harvested from:


(pilates OR exercise movement techniques) AND ("low back pain" OR backache* OR sciatica OR lumbago OR spondylosis)

As you develop a final, reproducible strategy for each database, save your strategies in a:

4. Limit Your Results

Use database filters to limit your results based on your defined inclusion/exclusion criteria.  In addition to relying on the databases' categorical filters, you may also need to manually screen results.  

NOTE: Many databases allow you to filter to "Full Text Only".  This filter is  not recommended . It excludes articles if their full text is not available in that particular database (CINAHL, PubMed, etc), but if the article is relevant, it is important that you are able to read its title and abstract, regardless of 'full text' status. The full text is likely to be accessible through another source (a different database, or Interlibrary Loan).  

5. Download Citations

Selected citations and/or entire sets of search results can be downloaded from the database into a citation management tool. If you are conducting a systematic review that will require reporting according to PRISMA standards, a citation manager can help you keep track of the number of articles that came from each database, as well as the number of duplicate records.

In Zotero, you can create a Collection for the combined results set, and sub-collections for the results from each database you search.  You can then use Zotero's 'Duplicate Items" function to find and merge duplicate records.

File structure of a Zotero library, showing a combined pooled set, and sub folders representing results from individual databases.

6. Abstract and Analyze

Covidence is a web-based tool that enables you to work with a team to screen titles/abstracts and full text for inclusion in your review, as well as extract data from the included studies.

Screenshot of the Covidence interface, showing Title and abstract screening phase.

7. Create Flow Diagram

The PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses) flow diagram is a visual representation of the flow of records through different phases of a systematic review.  It depicts the number of records identified, included and excluded.  It is best used in conjunction with the PRISMA checklist .

Example PRISMA diagram showing number of records identified, duplicates removed, and records excluded.

Example from: Stotz, S. A., McNealy, K., Begay, R. L., DeSanto, K., Manson, S. M., & Moore, K. R. (2021). Multi-level diabetes prevention and treatment interventions for Native people in the USA and Canada: A scoping review. Current Diabetes Reports, 2 (11), 46.

8. Synthesize & Report Results

There are a number of reporting guideline available to guide the synthesis and reporting of results in systematic literature reviews.

It is common to organize findings in a matrix, also known as a Table of Evidence (ToE).

Example of a review matrix, using Microsoft Excel, showing the results of a systematic literature review.

Steps modified from: 

Cook, D. A., & West, C. P. (2012). Conducting systematic reviews in medical education: a stepwise approach.   Medical Education , 46 (10), 943–952.

Structure of a Critical Review

Critical reviews, both short (one page) and long (four pages), usually have a similar structure. Check your assignment instructions for formatting and structural specifications. Headings are usually optional for longer reviews and can be helpful for the reader.


The length of an introduction is usually one paragraph for a journal article review and two or three paragraphs for a longer book review. Include a few opening sentences that announce the author(s) and the title, and briefly explain the topic of the text. Present the aim of the text and summarise the main finding or key argument. Conclude the introduction with a brief statement of your evaluation of the text. This can be a positive or negative evaluation or, as is usually the case, a mixed response.

Present a summary of the key points along with a limited number of examples. You can also briefly explain the author’s purpose/intentions throughout the text and you may briefly describe how the text is organised. The summary should only make up about a third of the critical review.

The critique should be a balanced discussion and evaluation of the strengths, weakness and notable features of the text. Remember to base your discussion on specific criteria. Good reviews also include other sources to support your evaluation (remember to reference).

You can choose how to sequence your critique. Here are some examples to get you started:

Conclusion & References

This is usually a very short paragraph.

If you have used other sources in you review you should also include a list of references at the end of the review.

Summarising and paraphrasing for the critical review

The best way to summarise

Paraphrasing means putting it into your own words. Paraphrasing offers an alternative to using direct quotations in your summary (and the critique) and can be an efficient way to integrate your summary notes.

The best way to paraphrase

  Next: Some general criteria for evaluating texts

Essay and assignment writing guide.

Study Hacks Workshops | All the hacks you need! 13 Feb – 13 Apr 2023

Medscape Logo

How to Critically Appraise an Article

Jane M Young; Michael J Solomon

Nat Clin Pract Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2009;6(2):82-91. 

critical appraisal of literature review example

Critical appraisal is a systematic process used to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a research article in order to assess the usefulness and validity of research findings. The most important components of a critical appraisal are an evaluation of the appropriateness of the study design for the research question and a careful assessment of the key methodological features of this design. Other factors that also should be considered include the suitability of the statistical methods used and their subsequent interpretation, potential conflicts of interest and the relevance of the research to one's own practice. This Review presents a 10-step guide to critical appraisal that aims to assist clinicians to identify the most relevant high-quality studies available to guide their clinical practice.


To practice evidence-based medicine, clinicians need to apply the findings of scientific research to the circumstances of individual patients as part of their clinical decision-making process. Clinicians, therefore, must be able to select and appraise scientific literature that is relevant to their field, understand the implications of research findings for individual patients, elicit patients' own preferences and develop an appropriate management plan based on the combination of this information. Each of these tasks presents its own challenges, but the sheer volume of medical literature means that the first step (that of selecting and appraising scientific evidence) can be daunting. The number of new medical research articles published each year continually increases, and more than 12,000 new articles, including papers on in excess of 300 randomized controlled trials (RCTs), are added to the MEDLINE database each week. [ 1 , 2 ] One practical way that clinicians can manage this 'information overload' [ 2 ] is to develop efficient skills in critical appraisal, which enable them focus on only the highest-quality studies that will guide their clinical practice and to extrapolate information when necessary from studies of less rigorous design if high-quality trials are unavailable.

Critical appraisal has been defined as the "...application of rules of evidence to a study to assess the validity of the data, completeness of reporting, methods and procedures, conclusions, compliance with ethical standards, etc. The rules of evidence vary with circumstances." [ 3 ] Although the methodological criteria by which the validity of a study is assessed will vary according to its design, some general principles underpin the evaluation of any research study. Various guidelines and assessment tools have been developed to provide a structured approach to the process of critical appraisal for clinicians. [ 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 ]

Despite the plethora of documents available to guide the process, no 'gold-standard' instrument for critical appraisal exists. The criteria used to assess the validity and relevance of scientific literature are not static; they must evolve with improvements in understanding of the important sources of bias inherent in different study designs, and increased awareness of the potential influence of other nonmethodological factors, such as conflicts of interest. [ 15 ] A structured approach to critical appraisal could potentially improve the quality of this process, and simple checklists can be useful to screen out research that is of low quality or of little relevance. [ 16 ] This Review presents a guide to the critical-appraisal process.

Nat Clin Pract Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2009;6(2):82-91. © 2009  Nature Publishing Group

Cite this: How to Critically Appraise an Article -  Medscape  - Feb 01, 2009.

Authors and Disclosures

Jane M Young is an Associate Professor of Public Health and the Executive Director of the Surgical Outcomes Research Centre at the University of Sydney and Sydney South-West Area Health Service, Sydney, and Michael J Solomon is Head of the Surgical Outcomes Research Centre and Director of Colorectal Research at the University of Sydney and Sydney South-West Area Health Service, Sydney, Australia. Competing Interests: The authors declared no competing interests.

Critical appraisal is a systematic process used to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a research article

Critical appraisal provides a basis for decisions on whether to use the results of a study in clinical practice

Different study designs are prone to various sources of systematic bias

Design-specific, critical-appraisal checklists are useful tools to help assess study quality

Assessments of other factors, including the importance of the research question, the appropriateness of statistical analysis, the legitimacy of conclusions and potential conflicts of interest are an important part of the critical appraisal process

You have already selected for My Alerts

Click the topic below to receive emails when new articles are available.

You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive email when new content is published.

Medical Necessity vs Therapeutic Fashion: How Evidence-Based Is Your Field of Medicine?

critical appraisal of literature review example

We use cookies to enhance our website for you. Proceed if you agree to this policy or learn more about it.

Sample Essay On Critical Appraisal Guidelines

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Study , Information , Theory , Hypothesis , Psychology , Treatment , Therapy , Nursing

Published: 03/08/2023



QUANTITATIVE STUDY Research Problem and Purpose Is the problem significant and relevant to nursing? Why? Problem Yes, the problem statement is stated clearly. It is relevant in nursing since it concerns therapy for pets.

Does the purpose narrow and clarify the focus or aim of the study?

The purpose has been narrowed. It has two key purposes; one is for the comparison concerning reaction before and after therapy and the second purpose seeks to see the experience during pet therapy.

Literature Review

Does the literature review provide a rationale and direction for the study? The study provides previous literature on how it is beneficial to intensive care patients. Further, the study has a defined direction on the preliminary support and keen research on the topic (Coakley & Mahoney, 2009, p.141). Is there a theoretical framework for the study? Is it presented with clarity and linked to study purpose, variables and findings? Yes, it focuses on the linkage between practical work and the literature. It connects the variable and the findings of the research.

Research Question or Hypothesis

Are the questions or hypotheses logically linked to study purpose? The hypothesis stated seek to proof any claim through data analysis and its interpretations. The hypothesis are either labeled valid or invalid.

Are variables clearly defined based on previous research or theories? Variables used are well defined to stay in line with the purpose of the study alongside the theories stated.

Does the design provide a means to examine all of the objectives, questions or hypotheses and study purpose? Yes, a pre-quasi experimental design was utile on a single group mixed with other methods If the study had a treatment, is it consistently implemented? No, treatment was not implemented consistently since the sample size was subjected to different conditions.

Who is blinded to the treatment, subjects, data collectors, researchers? Data collectors

If the study has treatment and comparison groups, are these groups equal? Yes, groups used are equal measurements, for example, time and set questionnaires.

Sample, Population and Setting

What are potential biases in sampling method? No, all sample sizes was devoid of any potential bias. Is sample size sufficient to avoid Type II error? Yes, it is defined to counter any error. Was sample size determined by a power analysis? No, it was determined based on eligibility. Are the rights of human subjects protected? Yes, the researches sought the patients consent and excluded those who were hemodynamically unstable.


Are the measurement methods clearly described? Yes, all the parameters were clearly defined. Are the reliability and validity of instruments described? Yes, all were conducted on each scale and arranged from a0.70 to 0.92.

Data Collection

Is data collection process conducted in a consistent manner? Yes, it is done based on the designed made to achieve clear results. Are the data collection methods ethical? Yes, the researchers had obtained approval from Institutional review board. The methods observed all ethical measures during the collection of data.

Data Analyses

Do data analyses address each objective, question or hypothesis? Yes, based on sample characteristics the data analysis touches on each hypothesis used. Are the data analysis procedures appropriate to the type of data analyzed? Yes, the researchers followed every detail (Coakley & Mahoney, 2009, p.142).

Are tables and figures used to illustrate findings? Yes, clear tables and figures show results of the experiments.

Interpretation of Findings Are the findings significant or insignificant? The findings are significant considering the outcome in which the subjects reported an improved level of pain Did the researchers identify limitations? Yes, limitations included convenience of the sample, absence of control groups and small subject’s numbers (Coakley & Mahoney, 2009, p.145).

Are the implications for practice consistent with study conclusions? Yes, the desired outcome was achieved.

Are relevant ideas provided for future research? No, there was no suggestion for further research.

Coakley, A. B., & Mahoney, E. K. (2009). Creating a therapeutic and healing environment with a pet therapy program. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 15, 141-146. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2009.05.004.

Cite this page

Share with friends using:

Removal Request

Removal Request

Finished papers: 1126

This paper is created by writer with

ID 266598356

If you want your paper to be:

Well-researched, fact-checked, and accurate

Original, fresh, based on current data

Eloquently written and immaculately formatted

275 words = 1 page double-spaced

submit your paper

Password recovery email has been sent to [email protected]

Use your new password to log in

You are not register!

By clicking Register, you agree to our Terms of Service and that you have read our Privacy Policy .

Now you can download documents directly to your device!

Check your email! An email with your password has already been sent to you! Now you can download documents directly to your device.

Short on a deadline?

Don't waste time. Get help with 11% off using code - GETWOWED

No, thanks! I'm fine with missing my deadline

Hamburger menu


example of a critical review

critical appraisal of literature review example

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

Explain what is meant by play being a biological, psychological and social necessity.

Psychologically play is therapeutic; it eases stress and tension and helps children to relax aiding their emotional wellbeing. When a child has been in school they need some ‘down time’ to play and discover themselves, this also helps them process the day’s events. Children use play to make sense of the world around them, it can help them solve problems and learn new skills.…

Essay On Play Therapy

Play therapy is a counseling technique that uses objects such as toys, clay, or sand trays to help both adults and children solve problems that they may face on a daily basis. Play therapy also promotes social development. During play therapy sessions, the counselors observe and reflect the child’s behavior. Since children cannot verbally express their feelings like adults, play therapy is very effective for them because it allows them to express themselves through toys. The more I work with children during the after school hours in my community, the more I become interested in becoming a registered play therapist. I remember several incidents when I was a little girl growing up in grade school. I only acted out what I saw my parents…

Cypop5 Assessment Task 7

The relationship between play and learning seems obvious to many child professionals and parents, and yet there are still lack of understanding surrounding the importance of children's play. Some people believe that children need to "work" not play, and that playing serves no useful purpose in a learning and development environment. This is surprising considering that play, with its high levels of motivation and potential enjoyment empowers children (as well as people of all ages) as follows:…

Cypop 5 Task 7

Play is an essential part of of every child's life and is vital for the enjoyment of childhood and as well as social, emotional, intellectual and physical development. Having the time and space to play allows children the chance to keep them physically active and it gives them the freedom to make their own choices about what they want to do. Research shows that play has a range of benefits to the child, family and the community, as well as improving healthy and quality of life. Play also helps the child improve their self esteem, self awareness and self respect, it gives child a chance to mix with others and develop new skills.…

Brief Overview of Play Therapy

Landreth, Garry L. (2002). Play therapy: the art of the relationship. (2nd Ed). New York, New…

Early Childhood Education Essay

In the mind of a child ‘play’ constitute what they experience through activity taking place during a specific period time collectively with friends, family members or individually alone in his or her personal space. Brian Sutton-Smith (1997) a well-known play theorist believes that a child is born with a very active neuronal which will ease to function if not used. Children at an early age are capable of developing neurological function with will help them to solve problems, understand communication through language, respond to simple command and gain knowledge through the learning process. This activity requires any child to used physical function of the body for example muscles, nerves and senses. It’s always about learning as they progress…

Playing: Child's Development, Learning, Creativity, and Independence

Children learn a lot though their play. Play promotes a child’s development, learning, creativity and independence. Play also keeps children healthy and active – these habits which may carry on into adulthood. Play also fosters social interaction and helps children to understand the people and places in their lives, learn about their environment and develop a sense of community. Play also helps socially excluded children to interact with others. Play also helps children to find out about themselves, their abilities and their interests. Play is therapeutic. It helps children to deal with difficult circumstances such as emotional stress or medical treatments. Play gives children chance to let off steam and have fun.…

Axline's principles

Virginia M. Axline (1911-1988) was an American psychologist. She was a student of Carl Rogers (1942), who is the founder of non-directive therapy and today referred as person- centred therapy. Axline developed non-directive play therapy, which applied Carl R Roger’s person-centred therapy principle in play therapy. It based on theory that the child’s behaviours is constantly caused by drive for self-realization. In Axline’s books, Dibs in Search of Self (1964) and Play Therapy (1947), she demonstrated different cases of using play therapy. In summary of non-directive play therapy, child chooses the theme, content and the process of the play and the therapist follows and does not make any decision for the child. The objectives of the non-directive play therapy are promoting children’s self-awareness and self-direction. The Eight basic principles by Axline (1969), can serve as a guide for therapeutic contact with children in practice of play therapy:…

Early Childhood

When we see children playing with others or by themselves, we tend to think of them as ‘just playing’, when in reality they are developing important skills, habits and attitudes they will use in everyday life. When children play they learn how to cope with their emotions, continue to try to improve and learn to share with others. Children are not generally taught how to play, they use their imagination and creativity. Through play, children can be totally themselves. Interaction with others is critical in the process. Play is especially meaningful for young children, although it is important for all ages to engage in. For children, playing is their ‘work’ or their ‘job’. Play in children is so important because there are three ways children benefit from it. Children who play advance their skill development, social development and their imagination and creativity. Play promotes sensory exploration and motor skills.(1,1) Through play infants learn to coordinate movements of their hands and eyes. They like objects they can manipulate and feel, this helps them learn problem solving skills. Infants have to practice, acquire then improve their skills in order to obtain their goal. (1,2) Playing with other children is very important in the development of social skills. Playful social interactions occur from the moment of birth. Learning how to get along with others, follow directions and share are definitely promoted when children can play with other children. When playing, a child’s imagination and creativity can be expressed. A child can pretend and demonstrate knowledge of other roles, such as pretending to be a fire fighter, or doctor..etc. When using their imaginations, children can work through their own ideas, and release any aggressive impulses. (1,2) Play will help with control and independence. Play should not be directed, It should be formed from the children’s ideas. Encouraging children to…

Youth Sports Programmes : Benefits and Dangers of organised institutions

Bibliography: Association, N. P. (2000). What Play Provision should do for Children. West Yorkshire: National…

Professional Philosophy Statement

Understanding children's play and the teacher's role in guiding and facilitating cognitive, social, emotional and physical development through play.…

Child Abuse Policy

Jones, A. (Jun2002). An account of play therapy with an abused child from a different…

Cypop 5 task 7

Play is an essential part of every child's life and is vital for the enjoyment of childhood and as well as social, emotional, intellectual and physical development. Having the time and space to play allows children the chance to keep them physically active and it gives them the freedom to make their own choices about what they want to do. Research shows that play has a range of benefits to the child, family, and the community, as well as improving healthy and quality of life. Play also helps the child improve their self-esteem, self-awareness and self-respect, it gives child a chance to mix with others and develop new skills.…

Describe the role of the early years practitioner

Play isessential for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn toexplore, to think about problems, and relate to others. Practitioner must respond to each child’s arising needs and interests. Give guidance for their development through warm and positive interaction.…

Learning and Young Person

Play is vital to a child and young person’s development because it enables them to enjoy learning and promotes their development and also helps with their speech, language and communication skills, their physical, emotional, social and intellectual development.…

Related Topics

Log in using your username and password

You are here

Download PDF

Statistics from

Request permissions.

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Implementing evidence into practice requires nurses to identify, critically appraise and synthesise research. This may require a comprehensive literature review: this article aims to outline the approaches and stages required and provides a working example of a published review.

Are there different approaches to undertaking a literature review?

What stages are required to undertake a literature review.

The rationale for the review should be established; consider why the review is important and relevant to patient care/safety or service delivery. For example, Noble et al 's 4 review sought to understand and make recommendations for practice and research in relation to dialysis refusal and withdrawal in patients with end-stage renal disease, an area of care previously poorly described. If appropriate, highlight relevant policies and theoretical perspectives that might guide the review. Once the key issues related to the topic, including the challenges encountered in clinical practice, have been identified formulate a clear question, and/or develop an aim and specific objectives. The type of review undertaken is influenced by the purpose of the review and resources available. However, the stages or methods used to undertake a review are similar across approaches and include:

Formulating clear inclusion and exclusion criteria, for example, patient groups, ages, conditions/treatments, sources of evidence/research designs;

Justifying data bases and years searched, and whether strategies including hand searching of journals, conference proceedings and research not indexed in data bases (grey literature) will be undertaken;

Developing search terms, the PICU (P: patient, problem or population; I: intervention; C: comparison; O: outcome) framework is a useful guide when developing search terms;

Developing search skills (eg, understanding Boolean Operators, in particular the use of AND/OR) and knowledge of how data bases index topics (eg, MeSH headings). Working with a librarian experienced in undertaking health searches is invaluable when developing a search.

Once studies are selected, the quality of the research/evidence requires evaluation. Using a quality appraisal tool, such as the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) tools, 5 results in a structured approach to assessing the rigour of studies being reviewed. 3 Approaches to data synthesis for quantitative studies may include a meta-analysis (statistical analysis of data from multiple studies of similar designs that have addressed the same question), or findings can be reported descriptively. 6 Methods applicable for synthesising qualitative studies include meta-ethnography (themes and concepts from different studies are explored and brought together using approaches similar to qualitative data analysis methods), narrative summary, thematic analysis and content analysis. 7 Table 1 outlines the stages undertaken for a published review that summarised research about parents’ experiences of living with a child with a long-term condition. 8

An example of rapid evidence assessment review

In summary, the type of literature review depends on the review purpose. For the novice reviewer undertaking a review can be a daunting and complex process; by following the stages outlined and being systematic a robust review is achievable. The importance of literature reviews should not be underestimated—they help summarise and make sense of an increasingly vast body of research promoting best evidence-based practice.

Twitter Follow Joanna Smith at @josmith175

Competing interests None declared.

Read the full text or download the PDF:


  1. Critical appraisal literature review example

    critical appraisal of literature review example

  2. 5 Literature Review Templates Download for Free

    critical appraisal of literature review example

  3. (PDF) Critical appraisal of published literature

    critical appraisal of literature review example

  4. 009 Critical Review Essay Example Sample Analysis Paper ~ Thatsnotus

    critical appraisal of literature review example

  5. Critical appraisal literature review example

    critical appraisal of literature review example

  6. FREE 7+ Sample Literature Review Templates in PDF

    critical appraisal of literature review example


  1. Critical Appraisal

  2. Literature Review videos 3

  3. Review of Related Literature

  4. Literature reviews 2 CASP

  5. Strategies for Writing Literature Review

  6. Research Critical Appraisal Assignment


  1. Critical Appraisal Tools

    Tools for Critical Appraisal Now, that you have found articles based on your research question you can appraise the quality of those articles. These are resources you can use to appraise different study designs. Critical Appraisal Tools Centre for Evidence Based Medicine (Oxford) Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) checklists University of Glasgow

  2. A guide to critical appraisal of evidence : Nursing2020 Critical Care

    Critical appraisal—the heart of evidence-based practice—involves four phases: rapid critical appraisal, evaluation, synthesis, and recommendation. This article reviews each phase and provides examples, tips, and caveats to help evidence appraisers successfully determine what is known about a clinical issue.

  3. Tools for Critical Appraisal

    Critical Appraisal Checklists by specific Study Design type Randomized Controlled Trials ROB 2.0 Risk Of Bias Tool There are 3 variations of the tool based on trial design. Choose the appropriate version. 1. Individually randomized, parallel group trials (traditional RCT) 2.

  4. Writing a Critique

    Most importantly: Read your article / book as many times as possible, as this will make the critical review much easier. Contents 1. Read and take notes 2. Organising your writing 3. Summary 4. Evaluation 5. Linguistic features of a critical review 6. Summary language 7. Evaluation language 8. Conclusion language 9.

  5. Literature review example analysis

    This example shows how a literature review from a PhD thesis can be analysed for its structure, purpose and content. Three sections of the thesis are analysed to show the: relationship between the introduction and the literature review structure and purpose of dedicated literature review chapters

  6. Critical appraisal of literature

    What is critical appraisal? "A process of carefully and systematically examining research to judge its trustworthiness, value, and relevance in a particular context" [1] . Just because a study is the 'best' type of study for the clinical question, you cannot necessarily be confident of the study conclusions.

  7. PDF Critical appraisal of a journal article

    Critical appraisal is an important element of evidence-based medicine. The five steps of evidence-based medicine are: 1. asking answerable questions, i.e. formulating questions into a format whereby you can interrogate the medical literature and hopefully find an answer - to do this, you may use the PICO tool, which helps to

  8. (PDF) Critical appraisal of published literature

    The critical appraisal of the research studies facilitates in distinguishing between the useful and flawed studies. 5 The online databases contain substantial resources of peer-reviewed...

  9. 7. Critical appraisal

    Critical appraisal - Best Practice for Literature Searching - LibGuides at IFIS Best Practice for Literature Searching For the sciences of food and health Deciding what to include in your review through critical appraisal Once you have narrowed down your pool of results, it's time to begin critically appraising your articles.

  10. PDF The Critical Literature Review

    example) depends upon the intended use of the review. In the context of field studies, remember that an overreliance on the literature can stifle creativity and may produce an overly deductive approach. Let the literature guide you, not rule you. Tips on doing a critical literature review Finding usable literature:

  11. Dissecting the literature: the importance of critical appraisal

    Critical appraisal allows us to: reduce information overload by eliminating irrelevant or weak studies identify the most relevant papers distinguish evidence from opinion, assumptions, misreporting, and belief assess the validity of the study assess the usefulness and clinical applicability of the study recognise any potential for bias.

  12. Critical Appraisal of a Systematic Review: A Concise Review

    Critical appraisal methods address both the credibility (quality of conduct) and rate the confidence in the quality of summarized evidence from a systematic review. The A Measurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews-2 tool is a widely used practical tool to appraise the conduct of a systematic review.

  13. How to Write a Literature Review

    Examples of literature reviews Step 1 - Search for relevant literature Step 2 - Evaluate and select sources Step 3 - Identify themes, debates, and gaps Step 4 - Outline your literature review's structure Step 5 - Write your literature review Free lecture slides Frequently asked questions Introduction Quick Run-through Step 1 & 2 Step 3 Step 4

  14. Critical Appraisal

    Section 1 covers an introduction to critical appraisal. Section 3 covers appraising difference types of papers including qualitative papers and observational studies. Casey D, Clark L and Hayes S (2017) Study skills for master's level students: a reflective approach for health and social care. 2nd edn.

  15. Sample Literature Reviews

    Home; Steps for Conducting a Lit Review; Finding "The Literature" Organizing/Writing; APA Style; Chicago (Author-Date) Toggle Dropdown Turabian ; MLA Style; Sample Literature Reviews

  16. Critically Appraise

    Critically Appraise - Literature Reviewing - LibGuides at Edinburgh Napier University Literature Reviewing Getting Started Search Write This page is not currently available due to visibility settings. Last Updated: Nov 14, 2022 12:01 PM URL: Login to LibApps Subjects:

  17. Literature Reviews and Synthesis Tools

    Example: Covidence is a web-based tool that enables you to work with a team to screen titles/abstracts and full text for inclusion in your review, as well as extract data from the included studies. Tools & Additional Resources: Covidence. Covidence Support; Critical Appraisal Tools; Data Extraction Tools

  18. Structure of a Critical Review

    Present a summary of the key points along with a limited number of examples. You can also briefly explain the author's purpose/intentions throughout the text and you may briefly describe how the text is organised. ... The length of your summary for a critical review should only be about one quarter to one third of the whole critical review ...

  19. How to Critically Appraise an Article

    This review article presents a 10-step guide to the critical appraisal of research literature to assist clinicians in identifying relevant, high-quality studies to guide their clinical practice.

  20. Sample Essays On Critical Literature Review

    Good Essay About Critical Literature Review Type of paper: Essay Topic: Nursing, Aliens, Study, Surgery, Medicine, Stay, Disaster, Recovery Pages: 11 Words: 3250 Published: 01/29/2021 ORDER PAPER LIKE THIS Abstract Early ambulation is now recognised as an intervention that confers many positive benefits to patients following cardiac surgery.

  21. Critical Appraisal Guidelines Essay Example

    Literature Review. Does the literature review provide a rationale and direction for the study? The study provides previous literature on how it is beneficial to intensive care patients. Further, the study has a defined direction on the preliminary support and keen research on the topic (Coakley & Mahoney, 2009, p.141).

  22. example of a critical review

    Example: Critical Review of a Journal Article Article: Carroll, J. (2002). Play Therapy: the children's views, Child and Family Social Work, 7, pg 177-187 ... Carroll's literature review highlights how children's experiences of play therapy remained largely unexamined. Referring to previous research, Carroll highlights methodological ...

  23. PDF 1 A literature review is a

    A literature review is a . overview of a particular topic. It generally follows a discussion of the . paper's thesis statement or the study's goals or purpose. look at what has been said on the topic and by whom. *This sample paper was adapted by the UAGC Writing Center from Key, K. L., Rich, C., DeCristofaro, C., & Collins, S. (2010).

  24. Reviewing the literature

    Implementing evidence into practice requires nurses to identify, critically appraise and synthesise research. This may require a comprehensive literature review: this article aims to outline the approaches and stages required and provides a working example of a published review. Literature reviews aim to answer focused questions to: inform professionals and patients of the best available ...