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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Literature Reviews in Medicine and Health

Overview of types of literature reviews


A quantitative method of combining the results of independent studies (usually drawn from the published literature) and synthesizing summaries and conclusions which may be used to evaluate therapeutic effectiveness, plan new studies, etc., with application chiefly in the areas of research and medicine.

Source: MeSH:

Technique that statistically combines the results of quantitative study to provide a more precise effect of the results.

SEARCH aims for exhaustive, comprehensive searching. May use funnel plot to assess completeness. requires either very sensitive search to retrieve all studies or separately conceived quantitative and qualitative strategies.

APPRAISAL includes quality assessment that may determine inclusion/exclusion and/or sensitivity analyses.

SYNTHESIS is graphical and tabular with narrative commentary.

ANALYSIS includes numerical analysis of measures of effect assuming absence of heterogeneity.

Source: A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Grant MJ & Booth A. Health information and Libraries Journal year: 2009 26(2):91 -108. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-1842.2009.00848.x.


Meta-Analysis Standards

Tools for MetaAnalyses