Does Your Work Need a Literature or a Systematic Review?

By Grace Hamburger on Jan 14, 2020
eContent Pro
Does Your Work Need a Literature or a Systematic Review?

For a document to truly be ready for publication, a necessary part of the process is to first have a qualified individual review your document and provide appropriate feedback. For an Academic piece, a manuscript can be reviewed in two ways: through a literature review or a systematic review. Each presents different levels of thoroughness and content presented to the author, and depending on your exact needs, one can be more valuable than the other. So, what does each form of review provide, and from what type of review would your manuscript benefit?

Literature Review

Otherwise known as a narrative review, this type of review is focused on critical analysis of the literature. There is no predefined protocol or structure for literature review, rather it broadly covers the entire manuscript and provides a description of the study findings while giving feedback. A literature review can be applied to any kind of manuscript, from fiction to research, and has no means of filtering the reviewer’s personal experiences and bias. Your document will be analyzed and critiqued for research strategy, consistency, and comprehension. Specific areas of research might be checked, but not exclusively and not at length. These reviews implement a qualitative approach and seek to improve the document as a narrative without typically touching on the hard data.

Systematic Review

While a literature review is very open to interpretation, a systematic review is incredibly structured and measured. The author will provide a reviewer with a question about the work, and the reviewer will conduct a comprehensive search, extraction, and evaluation of information from the document to answer the question. Systematic reviews often require a team of two or more individuals and involve exhaustive qualitative protocols that are put into place to ensure there is no bias. Due to the incredibly rigorous nature of this systematic review, it can often take months or even years to create a sufficient profile, but the clear, thorough, and substantial results speak for themselves.

Many, but not all, systematic reviews include what is called meta-analysis, which goes beyond simple critique. This method of review is specifically geared towards research that is numbers-based and is commonly seen in medical and health care studies. Data is collected from a range of independent studies on the same subject, and these trends show the effect of research over time. Journals encourage meta-analysis to show the importance of the research in a concise format. Meta-analysis is also valuable for researchers when planning new studies or creating grant applications.

Whether a literature or a systematic review, it is an essential part of the writing process to have your document thoroughly analyzed. There is always room for improvement, and with eContent Pro’s scientific & scholarly editing service, experts in your field will provide you with feedback and suggestions on how to do just that. Finetune your manuscript and prepare for publication today!

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