Skip to Main Content

Evidence-Based Practice: Literature Reviews / Systematic Reviews

An introduction to Evidence-Based Practice, based on the five steps


Literature reviews - narrative reviews, critically appraised topics, scoping reviews, rapid reviews, and systematic reviews - vary in their degrees of speed, detail, risk of bias and comprehensiveness. A literature review is a study which:

  • is based on database searches
  • summarises the results of research
  • has the aim of objectively discussing a specific topic or theme.

There are many types of literature review, but two of the main ones are:

  • narrative (or traditional) review
  • systematic review.


The image above describes common review types in terms of speed, detail, risk of bias, and comprehensiveness.


For more information on all types of literature reviews, see the Library's Literature Review guide. This guide includes a wealth of information on all types of reviews.

For more information on systematic reviews, see the Library's Systematic and systematic-like reviews guide.

[Image attribution"Schematic of the main differences between the types of literature review" by Brennan, M. L., Arlt, S. P., Belshaw, Z., Buckley, L., Corah, L., Doit, H., Fajt, V. R., Grindlay, D., Moberly, H. K., Morrow, L. D., Stavisky, J., & White, C. (2020). Critically Appraised Topics (CATs) in veterinary medicine: Applying evidence in clinical practice. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 7, 314. is licensed under CC BY 3.0.]

Charles Sturt University acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands on which its campuses are located, paying respect to Elders, both past and present, and extend that respect to all First Nations Peoples.Acknowledgement of Country

Charles Sturt University is an Australian University, TEQSA Provider Identification: PRV12018. CRICOS Provider: 00005F.