What is a Review Paper?
A basic literature review in the health sciences "provides an examination of current literature; can cover wide range of subjects at various levels of completeness and comprehensiveness; may include research findings" .
Most Common Types of Review Papers
Literature Review or Narrative Review: "a comprehensive survey of the works published in a particular field of study or line of research, usually over a specific period of time, in the form of an in-depth, critical bibliographic essay or annotated list in which attention is drawn to the most significant works" .
Systematic Review: "a systematic review is a type of literature review focused on a specific research question, which uses "explicit methods to minimize bias in the identification, appraisal, selection, and synthesis of all the high-quality evidence pertinent to the question. Systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials are so important to evidence-based medicine that an understanding of them is mandatory for professionals involved in biomedical research and health care delivery" .
Meta-Analysis: "a statistical analysis of the results of a number of studies of related research hypotheses (each study based on similar study and control group populations and on similar design and methods), intended to yield a quantitative aggregate summary of all the findings. Best results are achieved by including only methodologically sound studies, because sources of bias in the original studies are not controlled in meta-analysis" .
Types of Review Papers in the Health Sciences
Below is an overview of different types of review papers and the types of search strategies that produce them. The following has been adapted from an excellent handout created by Margaret Foster, a Faculty Fellow, Associate Professor, and Librarian at Texas A&M University Libraries which, in turn, was adapted from Grant and Booth's 2009's article, "A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies".
|Type of Review XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX||Description||Search Strategy|
|Literature Review OR Narrative Review||Provides examination of current literature; can cover wide range of subjects at various levels of completeness and comprehensiveness; may include research findings||possibly comprehensive|
|Systematic Review||Seeks to systematically search for, appraise and synthesize research evidence, often adhering to guidelines on the conduct of a review.||aims for exhaustive, comprehensive searching|
|Meta-Analysis||Statistically combines results of quantitative studies to provide precise effect of results.||exhaustive and comprehensive, may use a funnel plot to assess completeness|
|Rapid Review||Assesses what is already known about a policy or practice issue; uses systematic review methods to search and critically appraise existing research||as time allows|
|Scoping Review||Preliminary assessment of potential size and scope of the available research literature; aims to identify nature and extent of research evidence (usually ongoing research).||as time allows; may include research in progress|
|Integrative Review||Utilizes broadcast type of research review methods allowing for inclusion of both experimental and non-experimental research in order to understand more fully a phenomenon. May combine theoretical and empirical literature.||comprehensive search to identify max number of eligible primary sources, using two or more strategies. Purposive sampling may be combined with comprehensive search if appropriate.|
|State of the Art Review||Address current matters; may offer new perspectives on an issue or may point our an area for further research.||comprehensive (current literature)|
|Mixed Studies Review||Combines methods that include a review component (usually systematic). Specifically combines approaches such as quantitative with qualitative research outcome process studies.||sensitive search or separate quantitative search strategies.|
|Qualitative Systematic Review||Integrates or compares findings from qualitative studies; looks for themes or constructs in or across individual studies.||selective or purposive|