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How to Write a Review Article

Descriptions of Types of Reviews

Reproduced from: Grant MJ, Booth A. A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologiesHealth Info Libr J. 2009 Jun;26(2):91-108. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-1842.2009.00848.x. Review. PubMed PMID: 19490148.

Review Type Description
Critical review Aims to demonstrate writer has extensively researched literature and critically evaluated its quality. Goes beyond mere description to include degree of analysis and conceptual innovation. Typically results in hypothesis or model.
Literature review Generic term: published materials that provide examination of recent or current literature. Can cover wide range of subjects at various levels of completeness and comprehensiveness. May include research findings.
Mapping review/systematic map Map out and categorize existing literature from which to commission further reviews and/or primary research by identifying gaps in research literature.
Meta-analysis Technique that statistically combines the results of quantitative studies to provide a more precise effect of the results.
Mixed studies review/mixed methods review Refers to any combination of methods where one significant component is a literature review (usually systematic). Within a review context it refers to a combination of review approaches for example combining quantitative with qualitative research or outcome with process studies.
Overview Generic term: summary of the [medical] literature that attempts to survey the literature and describe its characteristics.
Qualitative systematic review/qualitative evidence synthesis Method for integrating or comparing the findings from qualitative studies. It looks for 'themes' or 'constructs' that lie in or across individual qualitative studies.
Rapid review Assessment of what is already known about a policy or practice issue, by using systematic review methods to search and critically appraise existing research.
Scoping review Preliminary assessment of potential size and scope of available research literature. Aims to identify nature and extent of research evidence (usually including ongoing research).
State-of-the-art review Tend to address more current matters in contrast to other combined retrospective and current approaches. May offer new perspectives on issue or point out area for further research.
Systematic review Seeks to systematically search for, appraise and synthesis research evidence, often adhering to guidelines on the conduct of a review.
Systematic search and review Combines strengths of critical review with a comprehensive search process. Typically addresses broad questions to produce 'best evidence synthesis'.
Systematized review Attempt to include elements of systematic review process while stopping short of systematic review. Typically conducted as postgraduate student assignment.
Umbrella review Specifically refers to review compiling evidence from multiple reviews into one accessible and usable document. Focuses on broad condition or problem for which there are competing interventions and highlights reviews that address these interventions and their results.

Further Reading

Sutton A, Clowes M, Preston L, Booth A. Meeting the review family: exploring review types and associated information retrieval requirements. Health Info Libr J. 2019;36(3):202-222. doi: 10.1111/hir.12276.

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