Appraisal of: “Finfgeld-Connett D, Johnson ED. Literature search strategies for conducting knowledge-building and theory-generating qualitative systematic reviews. J Adv Nurs. 2013;69(1):194-204.”

Short description: 

This article aims to examine literature searches of qualitative systematic reviews to add to the knowledge base and inform searching practice in this area. The authors identified these reviews through known relevant papers, and a literature search of Scopus and CINAHL.  The authors discuss expansive versus exhaustive literature searches and that searching for qualitative literature involves a non-linear approach.  As a result, documenting these types of searches should include detailed accounts of their search processes, electronic databases and grey literature sources, and why they were selected, how keywords emerged, how barriers were overcome, whether or not citations were systematically tracked and how it was decided to stop the search. These items should be included, as they are not always clearly and accurately presented. 

Limitations stated by the author(s): 

This is not a comprehensive sample –“These findings do not account for the actual numbers of qualitative versus quantitative research studies”

Limitations stated by the reviewer(s): 
There was no mention of Booth’s article : Booth AC. "Brimful of STARLITE": toward standards for reporting literature searches. J Med Libr Assoc. 2006;94:421-9, e205 as one of the first standards for reporting search strategies for qualitative systematic reviews.
Study Type: 
Review