Literature reviews are important for:
Refer to the Literature Reviews guide.
Systematic literature reviews are comprehensive and replicable. You will need to:
A systematic review can summarise and critique research findings from a number of possible perspectives.
You may find the following readings helpful:
Meta-analysis (use of statistical techniques for combining and summarising quantitative results from controlled clinical trials)
e.g. Higgins, Julian P. T.(2008). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions [electronic resource]. Hoboken : John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. For an updated version see www.cochrane-handbook.org
Narrative synthesis (a qualitative method identifying major studies in a field, reviewing the main themes and summarising findings)
Critical interpretive synthesis (a method for synthesising a diverse body of evidence to generate and test theory, different from the more traditional aggregative synthesis)
Realist synthesis (a mid-range theoretical approach between positivism and constructivism, unpacking contexts, mechanisms and outcomes of primary studies)
Best-fit framework synthesis (an iterative approach suited to policy questions)
Knowledge synthesis (potential for generating new knowledge through extrapolation or interpolation of information sourced through systematic review)
A summary of critical appraisal tools is found in the International Centre for Allied Health Evidence pages.