The effectiveness of interventions for improving the research literacy of nurses: a systematic review.

Sonia Hines, Joanne Ramsbotham, Fiona Coyer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Internationally, a considerable body of research exists examining why nurses do not use evidence in practice. Consistently, the research finds that lack of knowledge about research or discomfort with understanding research terminology are among the chief reasons given. Research education is commonly included in undergraduate nursing degree programs, but this does not seem to translate into a strong understanding of research following graduation, or an ability to use it in practice.

Aim: The objective of this review was to identify the effectiveness of workplace, tertiary-level educational, or other interventions designed to improve or increase postregistration nurses' understanding of research literature and ability to critically interact with research literature with the aim of promoting the use of research evidence in practice in comparison to no intervention, other intervention, or usual practice. Methods: A wide range of databases were searched for quantitative studies of registered nurses receiving educational interventions designed to increase or improve their understanding of research literature in tertiary or workplace settings. Two reviewers working independently critically appraised the relevant papers and extracted the data using Joanna Briggs Institute instruments. Data are presented as a narrative summary as no meta-analysis was possible. Results: Searching identified 4,545 potentially relevant papers, and after the sifting of titles and abstracts, 96 papers were selected for retrieval. On examination of full-text versions, 10 of the 96 retrieved papers were found to meet the inclusion criteria. Included studies were low to moderate quality. Interactive or activity-based learning seems to be effective in terms of improving research knowledge, critical appraisal ability, and research self-efficacy. Utilizing a program with a strong base in an appropriate theory also seems to be associated with greater effectiveness, particularly for workplace interventions. Linking Evidence to Action: The included studies strongly favored interactive interventions, and those utilizing theory in their construction. Therefore, these types of interventions should be implemented to improve the effectiveness of research education for nurses as well as their research literacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-272
Number of pages8
JournalWorldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • research literacy
  • interventions
  • nurses
  • Systematic review
  • Interventions
  • Research literacy


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