Addressing Nursing Scholarship: A Framework for Currency and Number of References.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Timeliness and number of references in written work is often a topic of controversy. Decisions about choice of references become complex when there is little recent published information or a great deal of important historical work on a topic.


The study aim was to develop a framework to guide authors to determine the number and currency of references to support their writing.


This study used a descriptive design with three steps: review of journal author information for guidance about reference currency (n = 247); correspondence with journal editors (n = 27); and a survey of nurse educators (n = 44) regarding currency and number of references in written assignments.


Findings affirmed that recent literature is vital for nursing scholarship. Numerical guidelines offered were not based on identifiable consensus or rationale. Historical perspectives published over 5 or 10 years earlier are valued, even sometimes required. For a clinical paper, citation of the most current literature is viewed by editors and educators as essential, and may suffice.


Based on the findings of this study and our search of the literature, we developed three decision making algorithms for searching the literature and selecting references by currency and number.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Owens, JK; Nicoll, LH; Carter Templeton, H; Chinn, P; Oermann, MH; Edie, AH; De Gagne, JC

Published Date

  • March 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 54 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 40 - 50

PubMed ID

  • 33349026

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1705-7051

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0844-5621

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0844562120977410


  • eng