Types of literature reviews
The type of literature review you write will depend on your discipline and whether you are a researcher writing your PhD, publishing a study in a journal or completing an assessment task in your undergraduate study.
A literature review for a subject in an undergraduate degree will not be as comprehensive as the literature review required for a PhD thesis.
An undergraduate literature review may be in the form of an annotated bibliography or a narrative review of a small selection of literature, for example ten relevant articles. If you are asked to write a literature review, and you are an undergraduate student, be guided by your subject coordinator or lecturer.
Four types of literature reviews will be explained in the pages of this section.
- Narrative or traditional literature reviews
- Scoping reviews
- Systematic literature reviews
- Annotated bibliographies
These are not the only types of reviews of literature that can be conducted. Often the term "review" and "literature" can be confusing and used in the wrong context. Grant and Booth (2009) attempt to clear up this confusion by discussing 14 review types and the associated methodology, and advantages and disadvantages associated with each review.
Grant, M. J. and Booth, A. (2009), A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Health Information & Libraries Journal, 26, 91–108. doi:10.1111/j.1471-1842.2009.00848.x