Systematic Review Format for an Adult nursing research paper

A journal-style paper outlining a chosen area of evidence-based practice. 

A research question (Framework) formulated by PICO, where; P-Patients in Hospital. I-Intentional Rounds. C-No Comparison. O-Prevention of Falls.

The Paper Title 

The title should provide an outline of your chosen area of evidence-based practice.

As the title is one of the first indicators your readers will get of your research and concepts, it should be concise, accurate, and informative. 


An introduction is a pivotal part of the paper writing process. Therefore, it should introduce your topic and stance on the subject, provide a clear intent statement, and signpost the essay.

Research question

The rationale for asking this question-why are you asking this?

Is there a lack of evidence in the existing literature?

Introduce how you formulated your question.

You must use PICO/PEO to define your question clearly.


You need to look at the evidence base for your chosen topic. This will require good literature searching skills and a clear account of the search strategy you used. 6-15 papers are recommended, but there may be depending on your question. Describe your search terms. Outline how you performed your literature search i.e. what database(s) you used, Keywords and Boolean Operatives, inclusion and exclusion criteria, any other filters used and provide a clear rationale for these decisions with references.  

Search strategy 

Describe your findings and use a table and PRISMA chart to depict results and place them in appendices. 

Quality Appraisal

Use an appraisal tool to appraise the papers you have selected. Then, put this information in your appendices and refer to it.

Mention bias in terms of research methodology for the papers you have selected.

Summary and synthesis of the papers

What are the main points of the literature in relation to your research question?

Are there any themes coming through? Or What themes have been identified? 

Compare and contrast any emerging themes. Is there a reliance on a particular theme(s)?

Issues of Implementation

For the last quarter of the assignment (roughly) you are encouraged to use a framework such as PARIHS to explore implementation issues.


Like the introduction and literature review, some journals prefer a combination of findings and discussion, whereas others want them separate. Regardless, your goal here is to present a clear and coherent discussion, which should include: 

The factors that will influence the implementation of the best evidence found in your literature review using an evidence-based practise model and reference to leadership, change management, and quality improvement methods.

How best evidence can be communicated effectively to service users and colleagues and reflect on how implementing best evidence in practice can affect the service users and their families’ experiences 

The limitations of evidence found in the literature and draw conclusions about the best evidence for practice. 

The Essay Conclusion 

Complete the essay with a brief conclusion drawing together the key ideas that specifically met the aim of your review and, finally, the implication of your findings for practice.  


The reference page must be presented clearly with no numbers or in bullet format. 


Tables and charts should be in this section

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