Literature Review

Definition: Researchers often review research records on a given topic to better understand effects and phenomena of interest before embarking on a new research project, to understand how theory links to evidence or to investigate common themes and directions of existing study results and claims. Different types of reviews can be conducted depending on the research question and literature scope. To determine the scope and key concepts in a given field, researchers may want to conduct a scoping literature review. Systematic reviews aim to access and review all available records for the most accurate and unbiased representation of existing literature. Non-systematic or focused literature reviews synthesise information from a selection of studies relevant to the research question although they are uncommon due to susceptibility to biases (e.g. researcher bias; Siddaway et al., 2019).

Related terms: Evidence synthesis, Meta-research, Narrative reviews, Systematic reviews

References: Huelin et al., (2015), Munn et al., (2018), Pautasso (2013), & Siddaway et al. (2019)

Drafted and Reviewed by: Marta Topor, Jamie P. Cockcroft, Mahmoud Elsherif, Helena Hartmann, Flávio Azevedo, Meng Liu, Charlotte R. Pennington

Note that we are currently working on an automated mechanism to link references cited above with their full-length version that can be found at with all references used so far.