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Aerospace Medicine (NAMI-RAM)

What are the types of reviews?

As you begin searching through the literature for evidence, you will come across different types of publications. Below are examples of the most common types and explanations of what they are. Although systematic reviews and meta-analysis are considered the highest quality of evidence, not every topic will have an SR or MA.

What is a Literature Review?

A Literature Review Is Not:

  • just a summary of sources
  • a grouping of broad, unrelated sources
  • a compilation of everything that has been written on a particular topic
  • literature criticism (think English) or a book review

So, what is it then?

A literature review is an integrated analysis-- not just a summary-- of scholarly writings that are related directly to your research question.  That is, it represents the literature that provides background information on your topic and shows a correspondence between those writings and your research question.

A literature review may be a stand alone work or the introduction to a larger research paper, depending on the assignment.  Rely heavily on the guidelines your instructor has given you.

Why is it important?

A literature review is important because it:

  • Explains the background of research on a topic.
  • Demonstrates why a topic is significant to a subject area.
  • Discovers relationships between research studies/ideas.
  • Identifies major themes, concepts, and researchers on a topic.
  • Identifies critical gaps and points of disagreement.
  • Discusses further research questions that logically come out of the previous studies.

What is a Systematic Review?

What is a Systematic Review?

According to the Guide to Community Preventitive Services, a systematic review for health sciences evaluates scientific studies to:

  • Identify relevant studies
  • Assess the quality of the studies
  • Summarize the evidence
  • Make recommendations for interventions

Why are Systematic Reviews important?

Systematic Reviews are important because they:

  • Summarize evidence about the effectiveness about specific interventions for addressing a problem
  • Provide a generalization of findings
  • Identify research gaps
  • Identify and reduce biases for how conclusions are reached