A the reliability and validity of previously

A ‘systematic review

refers to a literature review associated
with a clearly formulated research question that uses sys-
tematic explicit methods to identify, select, and critically
appraise relevant research from previously published studies
related to the question at hand (
The Cochrane Collaboration,
). The systematic review process employs literature re-
view methods to select only those studies that meet specific
criteria which reasonably confirm the rigour of the ‘evidence

produced by a previously published study. The primary
characteristic of a systematic review is that it uses a rigorous
set of criteria by which to appraise the reliability and validity
of previously published research.
Systematic reviews are increasingly being used as a
preferred research method for the education of post-graduate
nursing students (
Bettany-Saltikov, 2012; Sambunjak
) as these reviews provide a mechanism for identifying
the most robust evidence-based research from among the
range of research studies being published (Lam&
). As a result, a systematic review plays an increasingly
important role in formulating evidence-based nursing prac-
tice by including only the highest quality evidence for the
development of best-practice guidelines, and to better direct
nursing practice (
Dixon-Woods et al., 2006; Scott et al., 2007


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