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How should we search ‘the literature’? Evidence based practice and nurse education

Lipscomb, Martin

Authors

Martin Lipscomb martin.lipscomb@uwe.ac.uk



Abstract

Nursing dissertations often take the form of a literature review and post registration/licensure, it can be argued that search and assessment skills are necessary prerequisites for the successful performance of evidence based practice. To meet academic and professional requirements (and putting assessment to one side), educators introduce literature searching skills to students and this introduction makes use of texts that, it is argued, are problematic. Using work by Helen Aveyard to illustrate recommended practice, this paper explores some of the assumptions that permeate thinking about literature searching. It is proposed both that the number and types of sources that need to be located remain indeterminate and open to contestation and, also, that an overly narrow interpretation of the purpose and structure of nursing literature searches is frequently presumed. Thus it is commonly supposed that the search process should and can begin with the formulation of an answerable question and, to address the question posed, unhelpful or limiting conventions about what ‘counts’ as evidence are assumed. Students and registered nurses are however, properly and legitimately interested in subjects that cannot easily be collapsed or framed in a way that allows answerable questions to be set and targeted ‘answering’ evidence sought. If the purpose of literature searches is interpreted broadly rather than narrowly, alternative conceptions of search construction deserve consideration. Thinking about how students are introduced to search strategies provides a useful vehicle for investigating important aspects of evidence based practice and nurse education. Unresolved questions about the meaning and purpose of evidence in or for nursing practice underpin the way we approach and read ‘the literature’.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Start Date Sep 8, 2014
Publication Date Sep 8, 2014
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
APA6 Citation Lipscomb, M. (2014, September). How should we search ‘the literature’? Evidence based practice and nurse education. Paper presented at 18th Annual International Philosophy of Nursing Conference in association with the International Philosophy of Nursing Society - Brave New World? Health, Technology and Evidence Based Practice
Keywords evidence based practice, nurse education
Publisher URL http://www.ipons.co.uk/2014-ipons-conference.html
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : 18th Annual International Philosophy of Nursing Conference in association with the International Philosophy of Nursing Society - Brave New World? Health, technology and evidence based practice




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