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Evidence-Based Nursing Practice: Definitions

EBN resources and strategies. (Including useful approaches for students in NURS604).


For more detailed descriptions of research-related terminology, consult some of the sources on the Background page of this guide.

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Research terminology

Primary Sources

Primary sources include original research papers authored by the scientists who conducted the study. Also considered primary sources are epidemiologic statistics published by authoritative sources such as the CDC or a hospital or other health system.

Secondary Sources

Secondary sources are those that report or summarize the work of others. Examples are clinical articles, textbooks, encyclopedias.

Tertiary Sources

Tertiary sources include critical review, meta-analyses, qualitative systematic reviews, and clinical guidelines from authoritative sources.

From TCNJ NURS 604 assignment guidelines

Systematic Review

A review of a clearly formulated question that uses systematic and explicit methods to identify, select, and critically appraise relevant research, and to collect and analyse data from the studies that are included in the review. Statistical methods (meta-analysis) may or may not be used to analyse and summarise the results of the included studies.

From Glossary of Cochrane Collaboration and research terms  (

Randomized Controlled Trial

An experiment in which two or more interventions, possibly including a control intervention or no intervention, are compared by being randomly allocated to participants.

 From Glossary of Cochrane Collaboration and research terms  (

Peer Review

A refereeing process for checking the quality and importance of reports of research. An article submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal is reviewed by other experts in the area.


From Glossary of Cochrane Collaboration and research terms  (