Aim: The aim of this paper is to distinguish the integrative review method from other review methods and to propose methodological strategies specific to the integrative review method to enhance the rigour of the process.
Background: Recent evidence-based practice initiatives have increased the need for and the production of all types of reviews of the literature (integrative reviews, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and qualitative reviews). The integrative review method is the only approach that allows for the combination of diverse methodologies (for example, experimental and non-experimental research), and has the potential to play a greater role in evidence-based practice for nursing. With respect to the integrative review method, strategies to enhance data collection and extraction have been developed; however, methods of analysis, synthesis, and conclusion drawing remain poorly formulated.
Discussion: A modified framework for research reviews is presented to address issues specific to the integrative review method. Issues related to specifying the review purpose, searching the literature, evaluating data from primary sources, analysing data, and presenting the results are discussed. Data analysis methods of qualitative research are proposed as strategies that enhance the rigour of combining diverse methodologies as well as empirical and theoretical sources in an integrative review.
Conclusion: An updated integrative review method has the potential to allow for diverse primary research methods to become a greater part of evidence-based practice initiatives.