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Systematic Reviews

Review Types and Methodologies

Types of Reviews

Often, what researchers may think is a systematic review better fits the criteria of a different type of literature review. When determining what type of review to complete, the type of research question, aim of the review, and resources available may help determine the appropriateness of a specific review type. Some common types of literature reviews are listed below:

  • Narrative: A broad, often topical review of the most relevant papers/studies, with no specific outcome in mind. They also rarely report a comprehensive, reproducible search strategy.
  • Rapid: A review generally conducted in under 5 weeks that focuses on gathering evidence as quickly as possible, rather than on a rigorous search methodology. Rapid reviews are most appropriate when looking into new or emerging research.
  • Scoping: A review that has a broader and less focused research question, but still requires a comprehensive and reproducible search strategy.
  • Integrative: Often confused with systematic review, this type of review is slightly less rigorous. While it does require a comprehensive and reproducible search strategy, its research question and aims do not have to be quite as precise, and it does not require the researcher to come to a conclusion about the topic.

This is just a small selection of the types of literature reviews out there. These resources provide further information about the many types of literature reviews:

While it may turn out that your research project is not a systematic review, it is important to remember that all types of reviews are important to the field. Most of these review types will still require comprehensive searches, and RUSH librarians are still available to assist you.

Kysh, Lynn (2013): Difference between a systematic review and a literature review. Figshare. Retrieved: 18:49, Sep 13, 2017 (GMT)

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