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Evidence Based Practice: Introduction to Systematic and Scoping Reviews: Systematic Reviews vs Literature Reviews

Differences between a Systematic Review and a Literature Review

The following table provides the differences between systematic and literature reviews.

     

       Criteria           

 

            Systematic Reviews          

            

  Literature Reviews

Question

Focused on a single question (often PICO based)

Not necessarily focused on a single question - may describe an overview

Protocol

A peer reviewed protocol or plan is included

No protocol included

Background

Summarises the available literature

Summarises the available literature

Objectives

Clear objectives are identified

Objectives may or may not be identified

Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria

Criteria stated before the review is conducted

Criteria not stated

Search Strategy

Comprehensive and systematic (stated in the document)

Strategy not explicitly stated (not always comprehensive or systematic)

Process of Selecting Articles

Usually clear and explicit

Not described in a literature review

Process of Evaluating Articles

Comprehensive evaluation of study quality

Evaluation of study quality may or may not be included

Process of Extracting Information

Usually clear and specific

Not clear or explicit

Results & Data Synthesis

Clear summaries of studies based on high quality evidence

Summary based on studies where the quality of the articles may not be specified. May also be influenced by the reviewer's therories, needs and beliefs.

Discussion

Written by an expert or group of experts with a detailed and well grounded knowledge of the issues

Written by an expert or group of experts with a detailed and well grounded knowledge of the issues

From Curtin University Library's Systematic Review guide