Critical Review of the Literature for Administrative Topics

Critical Review of the Literature for Administrative Topics


Selecting a Topic

There are several things you will want to keep in mind as you are deciding the administrative topic to access a critical review of the literature.  First make sure the topic is a leadership and/or administration focus.   Secondly, ensure it is a topic you have interest in and of which you are passionate.  Your enthusiasm for a topic will be needed in order to forge a long term relationship with a topic that you will be working on from the time of your initial research course to the end of your Masters’ of Science in Nursing (MSN) program.


Thirdly, you will want to do an initial brief review of the literature to see what is available.  This is important because you may find there is a wealth of information on your topic.  If this is the case, you may want to narrow your focus to one or two issues or research questions related to the topic.  Or you may find that there isn’t much research on the topic you have selected, in which case you may want to broaden the topic to include additional components or alternative issues and/or broader research questions.


Once you have decided on a potential topic, you will need to have it approved by the administration research coordinator.  So, don’t spend too much time on the above steps because if the topic is not approved, you may need to go back to the drawing board to select a different topic.


Once your topic has been approved by the research coordinator, you will be notified of this fact.  A research advisor will be assigned based on the advisor’s interest and experience in a topic.  You will need to communicate with your assigned advisor regarding your topic selection and establish a timeline for your literature review with your advisor’s input.


Conducting your Literature Review

Once your topic has been selected and your research advisor has been assigned, you may proceed to the accessing of literature for reviewing your topic.  Depending on what your topic is, you may want to narrow or broaden your topic or research question as described above.


It is important that you establish an organizing framework for your literature review.  One method that I find useful is to use 4×6 index cards.  On one side of the card, place the reference for the article using proper APA format and on the other side a brief summary or main topic of the article.  You may want to further individualize these cards based on specific identifying features as to the purposes of your research or to specific issues that you have narrowed as your focus.  You may also want to use either certain colors of index cards for certain issues or use highlighter colors on the cards to further identify specific parts of your topic.


The majority of your articles should be research articles, but you may also have several that provide informative explanations of issues related to the topic.  It is preferable with most topics that the articles are 10 years or less old.  However, it is also acceptable to have seminal research that forms a historical perspective on the topic.  For these articles, it is acceptable to have articles that may be very old dating back to when the topic was first researched.


A review of the literature should be a minimum of 30 articles and may be 50-70 articles or more.   This will depend on the topic and the amount of literature that is available on the topic.  Discuss the proper amount of articles with your advisor.


Evaluation Criteria for Critical Literature Review


Please see the guidelines in the “Preparing Literature Reviews” by M. Ling Pan that you received in your GNUR 530 Utilization of Research in Evidenced Based Practice Course.  The checklist of guidelines is located on pages 117-124.  Although all of the components of the guidelines will not apply to every literature review, many of the guidelines will be helpful in your preparation.

*The attached rubric may be used.  However, in collaboration with the research advisor it may be modified to better reflect appropriate categories for a specific literature review.


*Critical Literature Review for Administration Topics

Criteria for Assessment Pts. (%)
Chapter I: Introduction and Analysis of the Issue/Trend1.      Purpose of the Literature Review: What is the topicof inquiry and description of the problem?

2.      Significance: Why is the issue important?  Base this on current scholarly literature.  Demonstrate why it requires further study.  Include both theoretical and empirical research in identifying the topic as an important issue in the literature.

3.      Background: What is the seminal or historical research on the topic?  How has the issue developed over the years?  This may be older research that was first done on the topic.

4.      Problem Statementstated clearly and contains all important elements pertaining to the phenomena of concern.

5.      Theoretical Framework or Concept upon which the review is based.Describe the framework from the literature.  You may want to weave the theoretical framework into other chapters as is appropriate.

6.      Definitions of key terms that are pertinent to the topic confirmed by literature

·         Please take note: Any literature discussed in the introduction should be synthesized: In other words, similar articles should be meshed or combined and analyzed together.  It should not read like an annotated bibliography.








Chapter II: Review of the Literature1.      To prepare to write this chapter, first divide up your articles into subject areas or themes that the topic covers.  These themes will be the headings (in APA format) that you will use in this chapter.  These headings are mandatory and will help you to organize the literature.

2.      You should synthesize (similar articles will be discussed together) a variety of informative articles and research studies applied to define the topic.  Similar literature should be meshed in order to show trends in the literature.

3.      Integrate experiential and theoretical literature.

4.      A minimum of 30 articles must be applied.  However, 50-70 articles may be an appropriate number depending on the amount of literature available on your topic.  Please discuss this issue with your advisor.  If there have been studies that are done on your topic for differing populations, settings, subjects, and diverse other research factors, you should concentrate on utilizing research from all the varying areas.




Chapter III: Literature Search Process1.      Search Strategies: Describe the methods that you used to do your literature search.  For instance, detail the databases, key words/terms/phrases and engines utilized.

2.      Grid of Common Themes: Relate the organizing process that you used once you found the articles.  How and what did you identify as themes, categories and trends within the literature?  Provide discussion of this and then provide a grid of the articles with the themes and categories that you developed.

3.      Rationale:Why is the literature review an optimal way to discuss or answer your problem/question?

4.      Theoretical or conceptual framework: You may want to speak here again to your theoretical or conceptual framework and how it helped determine your approach to the literature.  Apply literature that utilized the framework and cite why it worked for your literature review.










ChapterIV: Research & other Findings within the literature·         Discuss the specific Findings of the Literature review after you evaluated it as a whole in relation to your topic.  What were expected as well as unexpected findings from your review of the literature

·         Discuss an analysis of the literature that you reviewed.




Chapter V: Applications, Recommendations, Summary, and Conclusion·         Apply the findings from the literature to a variety of administration practice settings and situations.

·         Apply the findings to leadership topics.

·         Provide your recommendations for further research or experiential application of the topic due to gaps you noted in the literature.

·         Summarize your literature review

·         Provide an inspiringConclusion.



·         Write in a scholarly professional manner using professional terminology.  Make it interesting and relatable to leadership professionals.·         Use proper grammar and accurate APA format. (1 point will be deducted for each unlike error in grammar or APA) 50
·         Complete a Reference List in APA format of all research articles used in the lit review.  Do not include references that you did not use in your paper.·         Double check your reference List against the APA book for correct formatting of references prior to submission to your advisor. 50
Total 1000 Pts (100%) 1000


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