Literature Reviews

Literature Reviews

3. Types of reviews

Literature reviews can take different forms – they can contain a synthesis of texts, they may reflect your position within your field of study, they may identify gaps within the field, or they may present the explorations of an idea over time.

There are different ways to classify a literature review. Some of these are [summarised from University of Alabama ]:

  • Argumentative Review: “support(s) or refute(s) an argument”;
  • Integrative Review: “reviews, critiques, and synthesizes representative literature on a topic”;
  • Historical Review: “examin(e) research throughout a period of time”
  • Methodological Review: “provides a framework of understanding at different levels… enables researchers to draw on a wide variety of knowledge… and helps highlight many ethical issues.”;
  • Systematic Review: “an overview of existing evidence pertinent to a clearly formulated research question”;
  • Theoretical Review: “concretely examine the corpus of theory that has accumulated in regard to an issue, concept, theory, phenomena”.


Reflection Exercise:

Which type of literature review is best suited to your purpose and audience?