Nurses at all stages of their careers can develop evidence-based practice through reviewing the literature to identify the best available evidence. This is not always a straightforward process. The systematic review seeks to draw together all known knowledge on a topic but the findings are not always helpful to practitioners and may contradict clinical experience or not fully address the topic. Approaches to unravelling complex issues, such as realist research or realist evaluation, are time-consuming and difficult to incorporate into daily clinical practice. It is possible to produce a credible and useful literature review by drawing on specialist library and information staff, and adopting a pragmatic but balanced approach. Narrative synthesis is one approach that can be adopted.