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Are you writing a review? -  An extract of different types of reviews

In the literature there is no consensus on how to describe and define different types of reviews. The different types of reviews are characterised by both similarities and differences (Gough, Thomas & Oliver, 2012).

Moreover, the rather unprecise definitions mean that most reviews can be placed under more headings in the overview below (Grant & Booth, 2009).


 Short timeframeLong timeframe

Litterature review
Narrative review
State of the art
Rapid review
Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA)



Literature review
Narrative review

Rapid review
Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA)
Scoping review


DepthLiterature review
Narrative review
Systematic review

Please note, that it is not possible to make a totally precise definition of different types of reviews.

Within the field of health, the different types of reviews may be more precisely defined. See the article by Grant & Booth below where the different types of reviews are included.

Overall, the search and selection process in connection with reviews consist of the following phases: defining of the research question, defining of the different aspects of the research question, finding good search words for each aspect, selecting databases, making systematic searches in different databases and selecting texts on the basis of inclusion and exclusion criteria.  

During the whole process it should be noted: which searches in which databases and how many hits? How many went through the first screening on e.g. title, how many went through the second screening on e.g. abstract and how many could be used in the review after reading in full?

A way to make the search and selection of the material transparent is to make a flow diagram e.g. on PRISMA where you can see a suggested flow diagram.

When this work is done, you proceed with synthesising and analysing data.


Grant, M. J., & Booth, A. (2009). A typology of reviews: An analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Health Information and Libraries Journal, 26(2), 91–108. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-1842.2009.00848.x

Gough, D., Thomas, J., & Oliver, S. (2012). Clarifying differences between review designs and methods. Systematic Reviews, 1(28), 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1186/2046-4053-1-28