Literature Review & Its Types – Must-Read Guide For Researchers

Last Updated on April 18, 2024 by Saira Farman

Literature review – a word that gives countless sleepless nights to students. Yes, conducting a thorough review of the literature and then reporting it in your thesis or dissertation is not child’s play. It requires a thorough knowledge of its types, ways of structuring, and skills for analysing the text. Knowing about the types is the most important thing. It is because when you know the types, the structure of the review automatically becomes clear.

Well, do you know about the types of literature reviews in research? It is sad to hear that you are totally blank about this. However, there is no need to worry because today’s article is all about discussing the types of literature review. Before moving on to the types, let’s define what a literature review is and why it is important.

What is meant by literature review?

If we define it in its simplest definition, a review of the literature is the survey of scholarly research papers published on particular research topics. The researchers turn the internet upside down to look for information about their chosen topic. This information may come from research articles, research papers, books, previously published dissertations, or other relevant sources. In a literature review, as a researcher, you enumerate, analyse, describe, summarise, and objectively evaluate all the sources.

Why is it important to conduct a review of the literature?

 Conducting a proper and thorough review of the literature is important in many ways. A brief description of points highlighting its importance is as follows:

  • A properly conducted literature gives you a proper understanding of what is going on in your field of research. It gives an idea of the current research being taken place.
  • Secondly, the literature review is the part of your research that helps you identify the research gaps present in your field of study.
  • By identifying the gaps, the review of the literature highlights the importance of additional research required on a given topic.

Hence, as you can see, it is very important to conduct a literature review. If you require some more information on its importance, you can ask for assistance from dissertation help UK.

What are the types of literature reviews?

After reading the definition and importance of the review of literature, it is almost time to return to our main topic, i.e., types. There are numerous types of literature reviews based on their writing. However, a brief description of the major ones is as follows:

1. Narrative literature review

The first and most commonly used type of review is narrative review. This type is also referred to as a traditional literature review. In this type of review, the researcher takes the selected research papers and evaluates them critically. After evaluating and critically analysing them, he reports them in the form of summaries. If you want to conduct this review, you must have a well-defined research question.

2. A systematic review of the literature

A systematic review is the second type which requires a more rigorous approach. It is not like other literature reviews. To conduct this review, you must have well-defined research questions and an ability to effectively and critically evaluate the selected sources. Typically, this type of review focuses on a very specific question, i.e., cause-and-effect questions. It is mostly utilised in medical studies and allied health fields.

3. Argumentative review

This type of review is primarily done to support or refute an argument established previously. The argument could be a deeply embedded assumption or a philosophical theory. The main purpose of this literature review is the develop a contrarian body of literature that either supports the argument or rejects it. This approach is a very legitimate approach to conducting a review of the literature. However, it is possible to encounter bias in such reviews.

4. Methodological review

A review is not always about what an author says about a topic. Sometimes, it is also about how the author studies the problem and approaches the issue at hand. Such kinds of literature reviews are called methodological reviews. In these reviews, as a researcher, you analyse the practical approaches of authors that they have taken to study the issues. This type of review highlights many ethical issues in the review of the literature. So, you must be very careful when conducting this type of review. If you still do not understand it, contact dissertation writers UK. They can help you a lot in conducting it.


Hence, a literature review is nothing but a survey of the research articles and papers published in your field. It is important because it lets you identify the research gaps present in your field. However, there are different types of literature reviews, which you must not forget. Some of those types are discussed above. So, read them, understand them, and conduct your review accordingly.