Q: What is the difference between systematic review and critical literature review?

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What is the difference between systematic review and critical literature review?

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Journals commonly publish six types of articles, including review articles. Literature reviews and systematic reviews are types of review articles. Both types of articles help researchers stay updated about latest research in the field. They also contribute to the advancement of the field in that they help other researchers identify gaps in existing literature.

Literature reviews are also known as critical literature reviews not because they are “critical” in nature, but because they present a critique, or an unbiased critical analysis, of existing research on a particular topic. A literature review is a standalone publication (not part of the literature review section of a conventional research paper), does not include any new data, experiments, or unpublished material in any form.

A systematic review plays an important role in evidence-based medicine, in that it provides an in-depth and detailed review of existing literature on a specific topic. Systematic reviews always address a specific question. They involve the use of robust methodology to find answers to a clearly formulated question. The specialty of systematic reviews is that they also include grey literature, which includes unpublished studies, reports, dissertations, conference papers and abstracts, governmental research, and ongoing clinical trials.

Read the following articles for a more in-depth understanding of systematic and literature review:

A young researcher's guide to a systematic review

A young researcher's guide to writing a literature review

Related reading:

Which is easier to publish - an original research article or a review article?