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Which review is that? A guide to review types.

A typology of literature reviews

Narrative Summary


A narrative summary provides a brief synopsis of the appraised evidence in a literature review. (Khangura et al., 2012)  It can be included as part of a scoping review, or,  in a systematic review where there is a lack of heterogeneity of available data for a full meta-analysis. (Campbell M, et al., 2017).
 

According to Cochrane Handbook (Higgins, JPT., et al., 2022, the narrative summary within a Cochrane Systematic Review..:
 

"... should give readers an understanding of how the included studies vary in terms of design, number of participants, and important effect modifiers outlined in the protocol (e.g. populations and settings, interventions, comparators, outcomes and funding sources)". (Higgins, JPT., et al., 2022, Ch.iii.)

 

Further Reading/Resources
 

Campbell, M., Katikireddi, S. V., Sowden, A., McKenzie, J. E., & Thomson, H. (2018). Improving Conduct and Reporting of Narrative Synthesis of Quantitative Data (ICONS-Quant): protocol for a mixed methods study to develop a reporting guideline. BMJ open, 8(2), e020064. Full text

Ferrari, R. (2015). Writing narrative style literature reviews. Medical Writing24(4), 230-235. Full Text

Higgins JPT, Thomas J, Chandler J, Cumpston M, Li T, Page MJ, Welch VA (editors). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions version 6.3 (updated February 2022). Cochrane, 2022. Full Text

 

Examples

Narrative Summary

Ogeil, R. P., Chakraborty, S. P., Young, A. C., & Lubman, D. I. (2020). Clinician and patient barriers to the recognition of insomnia in family practice: a narrative summary of reported literature analysed using the theoretical domains framework. BMC family practice21(1).  Full text


Systematic Review with Narrative Summary

Hubbard, G., Gorely, T., Ozakinci, G., Polson, R., & Forbat, L. (2016). A systematic review and narrative summary of family-based smoking cessation interventions to help adults quit smoking. BMC family practice17, 73. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12875-016-0457-4 Full text

Michalek-Zrabkowska, M., Martynowicz, H., Wieckiewicz, M., Smardz, J., Poreba, R., & Mazur, G. (2021). Cardiovascular Implications of Sleep Bruxism-A Systematic Review with Narrative Summary and Future Perspectives. Journal of clinical medicine10(11), 2245. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10112245  Full text

 

Scoping Review with Narrative Summary

Cowdell, F, Dyson, J, Sykes, M, Dam, R, Pendleton, R. How and how well have older people been engaged in healthcare intervention design, development or delivery using co-methodologies: A scoping review with narrative summary. Health Soc Care Community. 2022; 30: 776– 798. https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.13199  Full text

 

References
Campbell M, Katikireddi SV, Sowden A, et al. Improving Conduct and Reporting of Narrative Synthesis of Quantitative Data (ICONSQuant): protocol for a mixed methods study to develop a reporting guideline. BMJ Open 2018;8:e020064. doi:10.1136/ bmjopen-2017-020064 Full text


Higgins JPT, Thomas J, Chandler J, Cumpston M, Li T, Page MJ, Welch VA (editors). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions version 6.3 (updated February 2022). Cochrane, 2022. Full Text


Khangura, S., Konnyu, K., Cushman, R. et al. Evidence summaries: the evolution of a rapid review approach. Syst Rev 1, 10 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1186/2046-4053-1-10 Full text