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Conducting a Literature Review

Types of Literature Reviews

To learn more about the different types of reviews, please consult the article:

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

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

What Review is Right for You? - quick 5-question decision support tool designed to provide guidance on choosing the best type of knowledge synthesis to conduct in order to ensure that research goals are met.

The Scope of Your Review

A literature review may be part of an introduction or a stand-alone paper. There is not a set number of references that is deemed "enough" for reviews, so authors will need to determine the breadth and depth of the literature to include. Consider:

  • How comprehensive will it be? I.e. All emergency care settings or only prehospital settings?
  • How many years should it cover? All relevant material or only more recent material?
  • Is your selection of sources wide enough to find the relevant material?
  • Will you consider research in languages other than English?

Make sure that the inclusion and exclusion criteria are clear.

Literature Review Process

Planning the Literature Review

Sewell, JL, Maggio LA, Artino AR. Planning the Literature Review. In Conducting Research in Health Professions Education: From Idea to Publication: Association of American Medical Colleges; 2016: 17.