Literature Search Assignment
Objective: The primary objective of this assignment is for you to explore a specific informatics topic by searching the scholarly literature and appraising scholarly journal articles using a standardized approach. The secondary objectives are to learn how to present using APA formatting and to conduct a small literature review using principles of informatics and standard nomenclature.
1. Select one of the key concepts from this week’s readings and/or presentations to examine in more depth. A list of suggested topics is provided on BB; you must use the sign-up sheet to select your topic. This ensures that it is an acceptable topic and that it is unique to whatever your peers are working on.
Note that the topics are presented in a standardized format. PICO(T) formatted questions make searching the research literature a lot easier. The questions given to you for this assignment assume a general PICO(T) format, so that you have some flexibility in choosing articles around a specific sub-topic that is of interest to you. In NURS 563, you will learn how to construct a specific PICO(T) question for yourself. You can read more about it here: https://onlinenursing.duq.edu/blog/formulating-a-picot-question/
2. Perform a search using the university library databases and/or Google Scholar to identify three to four current (within the past five years) scholarly resources. It is important your references be scholarly. Articles from blogs, industry magazines, or websites are not peer-reviewed and are not considered scholarly. References that are not peer reviewed or that do not come from a scholarly resource will not be graded. You must identify your articles using subject-headings (e.g. MeSH terms in PubMed or Subject/SU in CINAHL). The database ULRICH’S can be used to verify that the journal your paper came from is peer reviewed. Access it through Foley Library (Research > Databases > Ulrich’s). If you have questions about this, please contact the GU librarians.
We have invested considerable time in creating resources to help you perform your literature search, knowing that for many of you, this will be a new experience. (Or at least something you haven’t done in a long time!) Please take advantage of the opportunity presented to you this week to become acquainted with the scholarship of searching the academic literature. It is something you will do often in your program of study. The GU librarians are ready and willing to assist you this week as you learn to use the GU library systems.
3. You will document your search results using a standard format, known as the PRISMA flow diagram. Here is an exemplar of the 2020 PRISMA flow diagram. PRISMA is the reporting standard that all scholars use to document their systematic searches and publish findings. The PRISMA flow diagram should be clear so that another researcher can follow your search strategy and end up with the same final studies. The diagram should be labeled as a figure using APA7 guidelines. Use the terminology definitions in Table 1 as you insert numbers of studies/reports in the PRISMA flow diagram.
2020 PRISMA Flow Diagram
Note. Consider, if feasible to do so, reporting the number of records identified from each database or register searched (rather than the total number across all databases/registers).
**If automation tools were used, indicate how many records were excluded by a human and how many were excluded by automation tools.
Adapted from: Page, M.J., McKenzie, J.E., Bossuyt, P.M., Boutron, I., Hoffmann, T.C., Mulrow, C.D., Shamseer, L., Tetzlaff, J.M., Aki, E.A., Brennan, S.E., Chou, R., Glanville, J., Grimshaw, J.M., Hrobjartsson, A., Lalu, M.M., Li, T., Loder, E.W., Mayo-Wilson, E., McDonald, S., McGuinness, L.A. Stewart, L.A., Thomas, J., …Moher, D. (2021). The PRISMA 2020 Statement: An updated guideline for reporting systematic reviews. BMJ, 372(71). https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n71
Key to PRISMA Terminology
Identification stage = Number of studies/reports you found in your initial search for your final research question. These studies/reports were the result of your search. Records are the titles of the study/report.
Screened = Number of studies/reports you examined closer by reading the study/report abstract. Note the # identified minus # excluded = # of records screened.
Reports sought for retrieval = Number of full-text studies/reports that may be the final 3 to 4 studies for your assignment. Note the #studies/records screened minus #excluded = #reports sought for retrieval. Reports are the actual studies or reports.
Assessed for eligibility = Number of full-text studies/reports you obtain, read, and assess for inclusion as your final 3 to 4 studies/reports. Eligibility criteria include scholarly sources published within the last 5 years and addresses elements of your research question. Note: #sought for retrieval minus #studies/reports not retrieved = #studies/reports assessed for eligibility. You decide to exclude sources that are not scholarly, have different outcomes or setting of interest or study/report characteristics that are not acceptable. Provide your reasons for exclusions.
When possible, select articles that come from different levels of evidence in the evidence hierarchy (for example, choose one RCT and one cohort study or select the highest levels of evidence you find). You will learn much more about the evidence hierarchy in NURS 563 next semester.
This is the number of studies/reports that equal your final 3 to 4 studies/reports.
You can find a description of PRISMA and a current flowchart to download and use on their website: https://www.prisma-statement.org/
Hierarchy of Evidence
Need to review the hierarchy of evidence? This will help:
Hierarchy of Evidence
Note. The evidence hierarchy image is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License” and accessed from
4. Next, thoroughly analyze the full text of your final selection of articles and enter data into a table of evidence (TOE). The TOE should be labeled as a table according to APA 7 guidelines. You should create a TOE to look similar to Table 2 below but you will only use the following headings as labels in your table of evidence:
Title (of study/report)
Author (Last name of primary author only)
Primary Outcome(s) (Name of outcomes of interest such as patient satisfaction or other clinical outcomes.)
Main Findings (Specific data for the outcomes. Cite the page where results/author conclusions are found.)
Example of An Evidence Table for the Literature Review Research Question: XYZ
5. Post to the DF and upload 3 files (see A., B., and C. below)
A. DF post: Your DF post should be 1 page limit in length plus an APA7 reference page).
Create the one-page analysis and reference page as a Word file and attach it to your post. Also copy and paste the analysis and reference page to the DF. Include the following in your on-page analysis:
1. A two-paragraph explanation:
a) Defining the major concept/term(s) of your research question. Cite sources.
b) Describing one or more major insights you gleaned about the informatics topic you selected. Support your explanation with sources from your search.
c) Stating how you would answer your research question.
2. One paragraph or less identifying your specific subject headings and how you combined terms to search the research databases.
B. PRISMA flow diagram: Upload to the DF a Word doc attachment* of your PRISMA flow diagram labeled/formatted as an APA7 figure.
C. TOE: Upload a Word or Excel doc attachment* of your TOE, labeled/formatted as an APA7 table.
6. Peer replies are not required this week (in recognition of the time and energy it will take you to complete this assignment well) but are welcomed and encouraged.