Literature reviews are are comprehensive summaries and syntheses of the previous research on a given topic. While narrative reviews are common across all academic disciplines, reviews that focus on appraising and synthesizing research evidence are increasingly important in the health and social sciences.
Most evidence synthesis methods use formal and explicit methods to identify, select and combine results from multiple studies, making evidence synthesis a form of meta-research.
The review purpose, methods used and the results produced vary among different kinds of literature reviews; some of the common types of literature review are detailed below.
1. Adapted from:
Eldermire, E. (2021, November 15). A guide to evidence synthesis: Types of evidence synthesis. Cornell University LibGuides. https://guides.library.cornell.edu/evidence-synthesis/types
Nolfi, D. (2021, October 6). Integrative Review: Systematic vs. Scoping vs. Integrative. Duquesne University LibGuides. https://guides.library.duq.edu/c.php?g=1055475&p=7725920
Delaney, L. (2021, November 24). Systematic reviews: Other review types. UniSA LibGuides. https://guides.library.unisa.edu.au/SystematicReviews/OtherReviewTypes
For guidance related to choosing a review type, see:
"The integrative review method is an approach that allows for the inclusion of diverse methodologies (i.e. experimental and non-experimental research)." (Whittemore & Knafl, 2005, p. 547).
Scoping reviews are evidence syntheses that are conducted systematically, but begin with a broader scope of question than traditional systematic reviews, allowing the research to 'map' the relevant literature on a given topic.
Rapid reviews are systematic reviews that are undertaken under a tighter timeframe than traditional systematic reviews.