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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Literature Reviews in Medicine and Health

Overview of types of literature reviews

Narrative Review

A Narrative Review is a "traditional" review that summarizes a body of evidence on a topic using informal methods to find and interpret studies  - offers  "expert opinion"

  • summarizes and critiques the body of literature on a specific issue or topic
  • research questions tend to be broader and more general
  • provides context for research, identifies gaps in the literature, and situates research within an area of study
  • often included with introduction to research study
  • can be publication in its own right, and provides a deeper look at a specific issue or topic
  • can be one or more authors
  • can be completed in a few weeks to months