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Literature Reviews in the Health Science

What is a Literature Review?

"A literature review is an objective, thorough summary and critical analysis of the relevant available research and non-research literature on the topic being studied (Hart, 1998). (
A literature review provides an overview of what's been written about a specific topic. There are many different types of literature reviews. They vary in terms of comprehensiveness, types of study included, and purpose.
The "primary purpose is to provide the reader with a comprehensive background for understanding current knowledge and highlighting the significance of new research. It can inspire research ideas by identifying gaps or inconsistencies in a body of knowledge, thus helping the researcher to determine or define research questions or hypotheses." (

Types of Literature Reviews

types of literature reviews chart


Additional Resources & Further Reading

Additional Resources:

Further Reading:

  1. Grant MJ, Booth A. A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Health Info Libr J. 2009 Jun;26(2):91-108. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-1842.2009.00848.x. Review. PubMed PMID: 19490148.
  2. Whittemore, R., & Knafl, K. (2005). The integrative review: updated methodologyJournal of advanced nursing, 52(5), 546–553.
  3. Armstrong, R., Hall, B. J., Doyle, J., & Waters, E. (2011). ‘Scoping the scope’of a cochrane reviewJournal of public health33(1), 147-150.
  4. Lockwood, C., dos Santos, K. B., & Pap, R. (2019). Practical guidance for knowledge synthesis: Scoping Review MethodsAsian nursing research13(5), 287-294.
  5. Peters, M. D., Godfrey, C. M., Khalil, H., McInerney, P., Parker, D., & Soares, C. B. (2015). Guidance for conducting systematic scoping reviewsInternational journal of evidence-based healthcare13(3), 141-146.