Q: Why does the traditional literature review article contain a 'methods' section?
Nowadays, in many literature reviews that are not systematic reviews, authors write the section, 'methods', and the abstract also looks like the systematic review article but actually they are not. What is the reason behind it?
Ideally, narrative review articles do not contain a “methods” section as such reviews are a comprehensive collation of the research findings by several other researchers. Such reviews provide an overall framework of the current research status on a particular topic of interest. As such, there is no scope of a “methods” section here.
However, sometimes, authors might wish to first present an outline of their review article. Accordingly, they may arrange the abstract into sections like “objective” (providing the objective to collate the information presented in the review article), “background” (providing a background of the topic of interest), “methods” (presenting the methodology that they adopted to prepare the review article; for e.g., how the literature was retrieved by computerized database search, hand search, etc.). This might sometimes give an impression of a systematic review, although such is not the case. In the same line, the author may present the protocol for data retrieval, literature retrieval etc. in the main body of the article, so that the readers too can access those databases and build on those research findings.
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