Research Writing

Systematic literature review Types How to do

The literature review is one of the most used methods when doing the course conclusion work. The student reads several books and articles in search of reliable sources to reference in the research. However, to improve the quality of the work, it is worth putting the systematic review method into practice. In this article we will elaborate the Systematic literature review.

There are different ways to carry out a literature review, the literature review being the best known. In this type of research, the student reads the work, checks who the author cited and thus manages to gather the documents capable of supporting the investigation. It is not necessary to explain where the consulted materials were taken from. 

What is a systematic literature review?

The systematic review follows a method to compose the sample of documents that will serve as a reference for the academic work. It is more comprehensive and time-consuming than a simple literature review .

She cares in every way:

  • Select reliable content;
  • Exclude articles that do not deserve to be referenced;
  • Read the materials;
  • Analyze the information;
  • Show how the research theme is worked on by other studies in the area.

The systematic literature review studies, in an intense and detailed way, the works published by authors on a given subject. It has the role of summarizing, examining the nature of the research activity and finding gaps. 

The system can answer a series of questions. Among them are:

  • What is the most used research method ?
  • What are the research trends in the area?
  • Which journals and conferences have published the most articles in the area?

In some fields of knowledge, the systematic literature review is used more frequently, as is the case of scientific productions in the health area.

Types of systematic review

Within the systematic review field, there are two types of review. Are they:

Bibliometric review

The bibliometric review goes all the way from the systematic review. At the end of this survey, the researcher presents the results in a quantitative way. 

In this system, it is common to use graphs to show how many publications on the subject were carried out per year, which authors produce more studies on the subject or which educational institutions carry out more research on the subject.

The bibliometric review serves to systematically map the literature. It uses, above all, the meta-analysis statistical technique, as it analyzes different studies with the same variables to compare the results.

integrative review

The integrative review, widely used by researchers in the areas of nursing, dentistry and nutrition, begins by explaining the origin of the information, that is, the databases consulted, the criteria for selecting articles and criteria for excluding documents.

In a second moment, this type of review seeks to integrate the information, that is, to verify how the studies were formulated and how they relate to each other. Different resources can be used to systematize the information and show the relationship, as is the case of a summary table. 

How to do a systematic review?

To be able to carry out a systematic review, it is necessary to go through some stages. Are they:


Planning encompasses preparing to carry out the research. Its main objective is to define a protocol.

Identification of the need

It is in this first phase that the researcher identifies the need for a systematic review of the literature on the subject. This usually occurs when there is no such work in the area, or when existing works are considered old. In this sense, a systematic review is necessary to understand how current research is behaving.

Proposal preparation

A step that involves defining the objective of the review, its scope, how it will be conducted and its scope.

protocol creation

Strict criteria need to be respected to produce a quality systematic review. It is a development phase, which establishes criteria for data collection and analysis.

The protocol defines the keywords that will be used to search for scientific publications, as well as the databases that will be consulted.


It is a “hands-on” phase, that is, the steps planned in the protocol are finally executed. The main stages are:

Keyword selection

Choose two or three articles from your area of ​​study and check the keywords used. Identify the best search terms, that is, those that relate well to the scope of your search.

Definition of databases

After selecting terms, search two or three databases. Choose the most specific collection for your area of ​​study. Example: healthcare students often use Publimed .

selection of articles

Build a table to identify the articles consulted, considering the selection and exclusion criteria. If the research filters were defined in the protocol, it is in this phase that curatorship is put into practice.

Evaluation of the quality of studies

Scientific work only inspires confidence when it is based on quality studies, that is, that followed scientific rigor in carrying out.

Data monitoring and extraction

In this phase, the researcher must check whether the protocol is being followed correctly, as this ensures the scientific rigor of the study. In addition, it is important to download the PDFs of the scientific articles, read them carefully and collect the relevant information.


It is time to prepare the synthesis of the articles and relate them, reflecting on the data to define an organization. The factor that determines the order can be the theory used by the authors or even the methodology. Another interesting suggestion is to do an analysis following the chronological order.

There are some tools that facilitate the analysis of information, such as Mendeley and Excel itself.

report writing

The systematic review has a scientific article format , after all, it will be disseminated to other scholars through publication in a scientific journal or congress.

The structure of the systematic review is not very different from other scientific works. It has an introduction , material and methods, results, discussion and conclusion.

In the material and methods section, the researcher needs to explain the way he worked on his research. Everything starts from a question, that is, the investigated problem. At this stage, it is essential to emphasize scientific rigor, detailing the steps so that other researchers can replicate.

In the results part, the objective is to make a description of the information found. Subchapters must be inserted based on the order chosen for the analysis, which can be chronological, theoretical or even methodological.

Finally, to close the report, it is necessary to write the final considerations. The researcher can identify practical evidence from the field of knowledge to establish relationships with what was identified in the systematic review. In addition, it is also recommended to present suggestions for future research in the area of ​​knowledge.

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