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Greenwich Hospital Library: Literature Reviews

Serving Staff & Patients

Overview of differences between literature review and systematic review



Literature Review


Systematic Review




Qualitative summary of evidence on a topic.


Synthesis of high level review of evidence focused on a single question.




To provide an overview of the chosen topic.


To find the most up to date information on a particular topic or answer a specific clinical question.










Not included


Precise and deliberate


Selection criteria


Not specified


Inclusion and exclusion criteria are explained at the start of the review.


Search Strategy


Search strategy not clearly identified


Wide-ranging, methodical search that can be repeated




Varies, may not be included


Meticulous evaluation of articles




Overview where quality of articles isn’t specified, there may be reviewer bias


Summation based on high quality evidence.


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