Types of Systematic Reviews Used in Academic Writing

Systematic Reviews

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Systematic Reviews: An Introduction

In the last few decades, the number of scientific research has increased drastically. So the best possible solution for this is to sum up relevant studies in one paper. This is done through systematic reviews. In other words, it is the high-level review of previous research for solving a current mystery. Hence, systematic reviews are the type of literature review with few differences.

Types Of Systematic Reviews:

There are five types of systematic reviews. These are given as follows;

  • Meta-analysis
  • Narrative Review
  • Mixed Review
  • Scoping Review
  • Rapid Review


Meta-analysis is a type of systematic review where you need to collect several relevant studies. After selecting the most appropriate studies, the student has to examine them. In the end, based on specific findings, the meta-analysis ends with a conclusion. The purpose of meta-analysis is to correct the errors that you identified within different studies. Meta-analyses are systemic reviews in the true sense. Hence, to use them within your academic task, you need to follow these steps;

  1. Formulate research questions (PICO)
  2. Form inclusion, as well as exclusion criteria
  3. Develop search strategy
  4. Search for databases
  5. Title, and abstract screening
  6. Full-text screening to further validate the findings
  7. Data extraction
  8. Manuscript writing, and statistical analysis
  9. Submission

Narrative Review:

Narrative review is a strong educational tool. Its usage can be evidently seen within the field of medical studies. It is a way for discussing some important topics theoretically. Narrative reviews are less formal systematic reviews. They don’t involve many rigorous aspects such as lists of databases. They instead show flexibility in terms of inclusion, as well as exclusion criteria. Given below are some points to note regarding steps for conducting a narrative review;

  1. Search through credible databases such as CINAHL, PubMed, and Scopus.
  2. Locate specific keywords.
  3. Read the title and abstract.
  4. State the results.

Mixed Review:

A mixed review highlights usage through a combination of the method for conducting a single systematic review. In this systematic review, you have to use more than one review approach. This is because a mixed systematic review uses more than one type of data. This method aggregates these two data types to form a final combined decision.

These methods are best for the research with a mixed-type design. Hence, the addition of qualitative, with quantitive analysis is subject of study for a mixed review. You should go through the following steps for conducting a mixed review;

  1. Make the research questions.
  2. Search the authentic data sources (Databases).
  3. Create a search strategy (you can use the PRESS template for this).
  4. Set sources’ eligibility criteria (this is based on sample size, keywords, and years).
  5. Screen the title and abstract for successful data extraction.
  6. Estimate biasness.
  7. Ensure usage of a good approach for evidence synthesis (like the PRISMA flow diagram).
  8. Report results, and develop good discussion.

Scoping Review

This type of systematic review is somewhat different from the other types. Scoping review is a relatively new approach. There’s no doubt that it’s also a way of gathering evidence relevant to a study. But still, its method of gathering evidence is quite different. Yet here you don’t need to construct summarised answers for the discrete questions even these questions are about knowing personality traits. To conduct this systematic review type, you can follow the following steps;

  • Define an effective research topic.
  • Define the objectives.
  • Develop a plan for your review (what to include, what not to?).
  • Use the PCC framework.
  • Conduct research (grey literature).
  • Include studies that suit your review plan.
  • Extract data, and report it within your review.

Rapid Review

Rapid reviews are ways of gathering knowledge. But here, some components of typical systematic reviews are excluded, or simplified. Usually, scientists adopt this type of systematic review for completing the research timely. This is the shortest, as well as simplest form of a systematic review. Still, you can follow these steps to get help from the rapid review aspect;

  1. Form questions.
  2. Define variables.
  3. Search databases.
  4. Synthesise evidence.