Skip to main content

Clinical and Research Support

Types of review

Here are some of the common types of review. While they are arranged in approximate order of rigour, this does not devalue quicker or less rigourous types of review.

Rapid and less rigourous reviews also fill an evidence need and have advantages in terms of turnaround time and accessibility.

 

Narrative Review

Type of literature review in which the articles are discussed around an organising theme in a user friendly format.

May not use or report formal methodology.

Literature Review

Generic term for published materials that provide examination of recent or current literature.

Implies but does not require some adherence to process and structure (and reports same).

Can cover wide range of subjects at various  levels of completeness and comprehensiveness.

Scoping review

Preliminary assessment to establish the size and nature of evidence base.

No formal quality assessment.

Often done in preparation for more focused research.

Rapid Review

Assessment of what is already known about a policy or practice issue, using systematic review methods.

Much quicker timeframe hence less rigour.

Used for time constrained  projects

Systematic Review

Seeks to systematically search for, appraise and synthesis research evidence.

Aims for exhaustive, comprehensive searching and elimination of bias in evaluation of results.

Meta-analysis

Systematic review with additional statistical technique that combines the results of multiple quantitative studies to provide a more meaningful measure of effects.

Umbrella review

Also known as  a Review of Reviews.

Summarizes results from multiple systematic reviews on a topic.

Useful if research question is broad and significant evidence base exists.

   

Qualitative synthesis

Synthesizes the results of qualitative research using a narrative analysis.

Mixed studies review

Synthesizes the results of experimental and non-experimental research using a statistical approach and/or a narrative analysis with integration of results.

Integrative review

Use a systematic approach to make thematic analysis of quantitative and qualitative research on a topic.

Methodology is sophisticated, requiring insight and attention to detail..

Realist review

Looks at ways in which interventions work or not.

Identifies and explains evidence

Requires substantial stakeholder involvement.

   

adapted from 'A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies.'

Grant, M & Booth,A. Health Information and Libraries Journal, 26. 2009