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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Literature Reviews in Medicine and Health

Overview of types of literature reviews

About Literature Reviews

The term Literature Review refers to both a process and an output product.

As a PROCESS, a literature review is a survey of scholarly publications related to a specific research question or topic.

As a PRODUCT, a literature review can be integrated into a research study publication or it can a free-standing publication.

 A literature review offers a snapshot of published literature that addresses a specific issue, topic or question. Different types of literature reviews involve varying degrees of rigor, scope, and focus. A Narrative Review is often part of a research publication and serves to  situate a research study within the broader landscape of a topic area. Systematic Reviews, Meta-Analyses, and Scoping Reviews are free-standing publications that offer a deeper exploration of literature to address specific research questions.

Depending on the type of review...

SEARCH may or may not be comprehensive

APPRAISAL may or may not include quality assessment

SYNTHESIS is narrative

ANALYSIS may be chronological, conceptual, thematic, etc.

What kind of review should I consider?

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