Please see below for guidance on conducting background literature reviews and knowledge syntheses.
Background Literature Reviews
Within the context of research, background literature reviews inform research projects by supporting and explaining choices for your study, including the research question and design. Background literature reviews comprise the introduction to a research proposal or journal article and are traditionally situated as a chapter within a thesis or dissertation. These reviews include a purposive selection of current evidence for a specific topic while bringing forward related concepts, theories, or methodologies.
In contrast, knowledge syntheses utilize rigorous methods to aggregate or interpret individual study findings. Grant funding may be available to support these team-based projects, which can average 6-18 months to complete.
Many methodological approaches have been developed to accommodate varied and complex review questions beyond what works, which is typical of systematic reviews with meta-analysis. Scoping reviews, meta-ethnography, and realist reviews, for example, can help answer questions such as the how and why of interventions, perceptions and experiences, research gaps, theory generation and refinement, and barriers and facilitators.