Definition: A literature/narrative review identifies, summarizes, and critically analyzes what has been previously published on a specific topic.
Aim: To give readers a comprehensive overview of the topic and to highlight significant areas of research. A literature review can also help identify gaps in the research.
Key characteristics: A literature review has a wide scope and follows a non-standardized methodology. Search strategies, comprehensiveness, and time range vary and do not follow an established protocol.
Structure: A literature review may be chronological (traces a topic's development over time), methodological (compares the results that emerge from using different methods), thematic (addresses different aspects of the topic), or theoretical (discusses various theories, models and concepts).
Strengths: Sets the context for your research and provides the framework for interpreting the results fo your research. Does not take long time to complete.
Drawbacks/Limitations: The authors may not clearly state the methodology used, and may be selective in presenting evidence to support a particular, pre-existing view. Selectivity of materials used by the author(s) makes it susceptible to bias.
Source: USU Libraries. (2017, September 26). Conducting a literature review [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuV9WawChwc