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Organizing a Literature Review

What is a review article?

A traditional review article is a secondary (not primary) report of research. Its goal is to synthesize the research of others into a summary of:

  • what is confirmed or still unknown
  • areas of controversy, where results differ in their conclusions
  • identified areas for further research

Review articles may serve as:

  • An overview of research in a field in one article
  • A guide to the best and highest impact articles on a topic
  • An identification of current research in a field

Systematic Review and other Evidence Based Synthesis

A systematic literature review is a type of evidence-based synthesis research. The goal of this type of literature review is to aggregate and evaluate all published literature that addresses a very defined research question in order to recommend a treatment or management decision. Systematic reviews are considered original research; they require a research team and transparent methodology to minimize bias and enable reproducibility. Evidence-based syntheses require significant time to conduct, frequently 6 mos to 2 yrs.

For more information, visit Systematic & Evidence Synthesis Reviews or contact

Review articles: examples

Many academic search engines and databases provide an option to refine results of a search to just the review articles.

Here are a few examples (Connect through VPN if off campus to read full text):

University of Florida Home Page

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