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Michigan State University

Nursing Literature Reviews

Step by step guide on how to conduct a literature review.


There are many types of literature reviews, but all should follow a similar search process.  Below are a few types of literature reviews, as well as definitions and examples. Much of this information can be found in the article A Typology of Reviews: An Analysis of 14 Review Types and Associated Methodologies.

Additional information about types of reviews, including an updated list of 48 types of reviews can be found in the article Meeting the Review Family: Exploring Review Types and Associated Information Retrieval Techniques

Literature Review: This is a generic term that can cover a wide range of subjects, and varies in completeness and comprehensiveness. They are typically narrative, and analysis may be chronological, conceptual, thematic, or however the author decides to organize the material. Anesthesia Personnel's Experiences With Digital Anesthesia Information Management Systems: A Literature Review.

Scoping Review: A preliminary assessment of the size and scope of available published literature. A scoping review is intended to identify current research and the extent of such research, and determine if a more comprehensive review is viable. Can include research in progress, and the completeness of searching is determined by time/scope. Traumatic Subarachnoid Hemorrhage: A Scoping Review

Mapping Review: Looks at existing literature and maps out future directions and current gaps in the research literature. Search may be determined by time/scope. Classification of Mild Stroke: A Mapping Review

Rapid Review: Assessment of what is already known about a policy or practice issue. Uses systematic review methods to search and critically evaluate existing research, but search is limited by time constraints. The Current State Of Telehealth Evidence: A Rapid Review

State-of-the-art/state-of-the-literature review: Addresses current matters as opposed to other types of reviews that address retrospective and current approaches. Comprehensive searching of the literature, and looks for current state of knowledge and sets priorities for future investigation and research. Artificial Intelligence for the Otolaryngologist: A State of the Art Review

Integrative Review: Combines empirical and theoretical research to examine research on a given area. Includes non-experimental research, and can include case studies, observational studies, theories, guidelines, etc., and is generally used to inform healthcare policy and practice. An Integrative Review of Yoga and Mindfulness-Based Approaches for Children and Adolescents with Asthma

Systematic Review: Seeks to systematically search, appraise, and synthesize research evidence. Requires exhaustive, comprehensive searching, including searching of grey literature. The efficacy of rehabilitation in people with Guillain-Barrè syndrome: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials

Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis: Includes all of systematic review, but requires quantitative analysis for the meta-analysis piece. The Efficacy and Safety of Disease-Modifying Osteoarthritis Drugs for Knee and Hip Osteoarthritis—a Systematic Review and Network Meta-Analysis

Umbrella Review: Specifically refers to searching for reviews only-usually systematic reviews only. Should discuss what is known, unknown, and recommendations for future research. Coffee consumption and health: umbrella review of meta-analyses of multiple health outcomes

Which Type of Review Should I Do?