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NRSE 4550 – Evidence-Based Nursing

August 2012 Ohio University© Page 1 of 1

Quantitative Research

Sample Literature Review Critique

Learning to critique a literature review is an important aspect of understanding research. This optional activity can

provide you with additional practice as you learn more about what you should expect to find in a literature review

in a research study. Although various literature reviews may differ, some general expectations about things you

will find exist. Consult chapter #4 of your text to familiarize yourself with these ideas. Look at the criteria that

should be considered when critiquing a literature review. Take a look at the activities in the accompanying

workbook to identify more about the key components of a literature review.

In your textbook are a number of research studies (see Appendices) that you can use to compare the way different

literature reviews are written. What are the similarities and differences in the ways different researchers present

their literature to support the study? Does one style seem better than another? If so, what is it that makes it seem


Use the critiquing criteria for literature reviews found in chapter #4 of the textbook. After you have read the

literature review below, then consider these questions:

1. Does the literature provide you with a good perspective of the topic?

2. Does the review of literature uncover new knowledge?

3. Are there other things you think should have been included in this review? Why?

4. Did the review of the literature provide strong bases for research in the clinical practice setting?

As you study and try to understand more about what makes a good literature review, you will need to look at a

variety of different literature review sections of research papers. Think of this as the foundation for the study.

Without a good foundation, the entire study may prove shaky. Researchers need to know what has already been

done in research related to a topic and have clear understandings about what is already known prior to beginning a

new research study. Research should build on previous knowledge and a new study should add to what is known.

Learning to critique literature reviews takes practice. However, if the research is about a topic that you are

unfamiliar with, you may find yourself feeling somewhat like a fish out of water. While it is difficult to critique

things when you are less familiar, the use of the critiquing criteria provides you with some excellent tools for

thinking about the content and identifying the quality of information provided. As novice researchers, we have to

trust the expertise of those who were peer-reviewers of the article, those that made the decision to publish the

study. When things are published in high quality nursing journals and have been peer-reviewed, then even if we

are novices we can still have some confidence in the quality of the work.

You may want to spend some time working through the activities in the Rose-Grippa & McGorney workbook for

additional experience in understanding the various aspects of literature reviews. Literature reviews supply the

assumptions and knowledge upon which research studies are developed.