What is the difference between literature reviews and systematic reviews?


A literature review examines the literature on a given topic to frame new research in the context of what is already known and justify why new research is needed.

A systematic review is a more formal and rigorous approach where the search itself is the research. Systematic reviews start with a research question and exclusion/inclusion criteria, and then go through the existing literature to find studies that match those criteria to answer the research question.

A meta-analysis is when statistical analysis is used on the data gathered from multiple independent studies to see if there is significance to a particular intervention. While similar to systematic reviews, they can be conducted independently of one another.

Grant and Booth (2009) define 14 types of reviews.

Cornell University developed a decision tree to help researchers identify what type of review is best for them.


  • Last Updated Jan 31, 2023
  • Views 9
  • Answered By Megan Benfield

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