Different types of reviews and analysis

Grant, M. J., & Booth, A. (2009). A typology of reviews: An analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Health Information and Libraries Journal, 26(2), 91–108.

This morning I read a paper suggested by my Supervisor to determine the title which describes the type of review and analysis I am conducting as part of my Communities of Practice Literature Review and the analysis of the Coderdojo interviews.

The main review types which relate to my work are outlined as follows:

Critical Review

  • writer has extensively researched literature and evaluated its quality
  • goes beyond mere description of an article/paper, includes a degree of analysis and conceptual innovation
  • typically results in hypothesis or model
  • Analysis: significant compenent – seeks to identify conceptual contribution to embody existing or derive new theory

Literature Review

  • generic term – published materials that provide examination of recent or current literature
  • can cover a wide range of areas at different levels of completeness and comprehensiveness
  • analysis can be chronological, concepual, thematic, etc.

Mapping Review/Systematic Map

  • Map out and categorise existing literature from which to commission further reviews and/or primary research by identifying gaps in research literature
  • analysis: characterises quantity and quality of literature,  perhaps by study design or other key feature. It may provide a need for primary or secondary research


  • Technique that statistically combines results of quantitative studies to provide a more precise effect of the results
  • Analysis: numerical analysis of measures of effect assuming absence of heterogenity (state of being diverse in character or content)

Mixed Studies Review/Mixed Methods Review

  • A combination of methods with one significant component being a literature review (usually systematic)
  • Analysis may characterise both literatures and look for correlations between characteristics or use gap analysis to identify aspects absent in one literature but missing in the other

Systematic Search and Review

  • Combines strength of critical review with a comprehensive search process. Typically addresses broad questions to produce “best evidence synthesis”
  • Analysis: what is known? uncertainty around findings, limitations

Systematized Review

  • Attempt to include elements of systematic review process while stopping short of systematic review. Typically conducted as postgraduate student assignment
  • Analysis: what is known, uncertainty around findings, limitations of methodology

I think my research in this paper is leaning more towards the method of meta-analysis as I am extracting themes from the literature and I am investigating if and how they appear in an existing community of practice. The data I am producing however isn’t quantitative, it is qualitative so that may pose an issue. It could also be seen as a critical review as I am extracting the key characteristics of a COP from the existing literature which has numerous characteristics. A more detailed discssion about the review type as part of my paper will need to be had next week.


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