Literature Reviews

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.

If you need help with background literature reviews for developing your research proposal or for publishing, select "small-scale article searchers (Faculty only)" on the service request form.

 

Knowledge Syntheses

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.

If you need support navigating knowledge syntheses, including selecting a synthesis methodology, developing and registering your protocol, completing your synthesis, and publishing the findings, select "knowledge synthesis project" or "knowledge synthesis methodology consultation" on the service request form.

 

Literature Reviews
Synthesis