What is a Systematic Literature Review?

Systematic Literature Review


A systematic literature review is one of the types for reviewing past researches which finds relevant researches on the given topic. A systematic literature review gathers and critically analyses many research studies or papers through a systematic process. After selecting the best researches from different sources, the investigator analyses the researches through a critical approach. Moreover, Systematic reviews include efforts to gather the researches which talk about the review’s research question. This helps the researcher justify research questions by being precise. The systematic literature review gives detailed research of prior studies. The review is an evidence-based strategy.

The researcher needs to give authentic points with reference to make the literature effective. The systematic dissertation literature review is different from common literature reviews. This review demands a concise, and pertinent study with proper strategies. All researches must have a clear focus on the research questions. The aim of a systematic review is to answer specific questions that the research is finding. Further, the researcher provides proper critique over the past researches.


A highly researched systematic review gives an evidence-based analysis. In evidence-based analysis, a researcher provides the information which is both credited and sourced. A good systematic literature review also includes a broad and critical discussion of the topic, including arguments. It gathers comprehensive existing evidence on a selected topic to answer a specific research question. Also, before screening researches, the researcher defines the inclusion and exclusion criteria.

These criteria help researchers find the related researches easily. A systematic review is designed to give a thorough summary of current literature relevant to a research question. Also, there are more than thirty types of systematic reviews. Researchers can apply the one which relates to their fields and topics. Moreover, a systematic literature review also helps in identifying the research gaps in our current understanding of a field. The researcher while screening the prior researches can analyse the gaps. He/she can work on that gap to progress in the related field.

Five Key Points of a Systematic Literature Review:


This component of systematic literature refers to clear data. This states that the data used for review must be validated and extracted through pure means. The writer only writes anything when he/she is sure (Treadwell et al., 2012). Information about the review must also be clear to all the readers. This can make the research more effective.


By clarity, it means that the review describes all aspects of the topic. The chosen researches are easy to interpret for the readers. The critique and arguments included also need to be concise. This component shows the precise information that relates to arguments. The data must focus on the research question. This brings clarity to the review.


An integration helps researchers relate arguments with the prior researches. A well-written systematic analysis always incorporates a valid argument on the prior researches. The better linking of arguments with prior researches leads to authentic research. Also, valid research is closer to real-time information.


The researcher needs to be more focused while writing a systematic review. A focused approach helps him/her incorporate the most relevant research in the review. The relevant studies make research better with detailed arguments. Systematic literature is not about depicting the opinion of other authors. You need to provide your own critique and arguments.


This element demonstrates whether the studies you are incorporating in the research are in reach of all readers. If you add the researches that are not available for readers, it would be difficult for them to analyse the review.

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Uses of Systematic Literature Review:

Systematic literature is quite helpful in the social and management fields and you can come up with a detailed analysis of the different opinions of authors. Systematic review assists you in piling your study with the most relevant past researches. The topic where research questions probe for certain theories and attitudes are essential within this context. This literature review type is beneficial for doing a thorough comparison and contrast analysis. The researchers that aim to give an opinion of the studies also use this review. Researchers opt for systematic reviews when they have a short time. The writer aims to highlight a precise and evaluated study through a qualitative design. It summarises the broad findings into narrow points.

Advantages of Systematic Literature Review:

A Systematic Literature Review Is Comprehensive:

A systematic literature review is done with a proper strategy. Firstly, it is not like a common literature review where any research can include in the study (Armitage and Keeble-Allen, 2008). As a result, the studies that fulfil the research question demand can become a part of the literature. This provides a detailed and thorough review. The review covers the variables and topic from all aspects, making it a comprehensive paper. In an effective literature review, all the authors are credited for making that research authentic. Also, the researchers test the researches through evidence. This makes systematic literature review an appropriate approach for the writers.

It Saves The Time Of The Reader And Writer:

Systematic literature summarises and provides the crux of different relevant studies. This helps readers evaluate the whole worth of research by reading the literature review. The readers are mostly short of time. When the literature is complex, it would be hard for them to understand. Also, a reader might get frustrated while reading complex literature. Systematic literature represents the opinions of the different authors in a collective way. The contrast and comparison approach saves a lot of time. Also, the evaluation makes it easy for the readers to interpret the study. The previous studies also fasten the process of data collection. The data gathered from different sources are authentic and sorted. So the writer can easily analyse it.

SLRs Are More Reliable And Useful Than Any Single Study:

Systematic literature reviews incorporate more than 3 studies in the literature to produce their detailed analysis. The systematic approach brings forth better and accurate results. The systematic review includes many relevant studies for analysis. This enhances the credibility of the research. It also minimises the chance of biases within the literature. Systematic literature is known for its detailed analysis. When studies of different authors are included in the literature, it makes the study more authentic with valid arguments. Also, a variety of opinions presents a better form of analysis. A single study analysis is not much credible because a thorough analysis cannot be done on it. A systematic literature review is preferred for accurate analysis.

Makes The Research More Practical:

Conducting real-time and practical research is the core aim of every writer. Firstly, the research should benefit in the particular field of the researcher. If the research is done through proper aspects, it is considered effective. It will result in a huge advantage of systematic literature reviews is that they provide real-world analysis. The studies included in the literature are authentic, making the research more practical. The information and analysis in SLR are applicable throughout practical life. The reason is that SLR does not include outdated researches for review. When the latest researches are included in the study, it depicts practical research rather than a theoretical one.

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Disadvantages of Systematic Literature Review:

The Literature Becomes Outdated:

Rapid advancement makes the process outdated in a very short time. Systematic literature review basically provides real-time information in detail. When technology and attitudes change with time, literature review becomes obsolete. It does not present the actual information when the study becomes old. So the SLR is optimum for a specific time. After the latest research comes, it needs changes to represent itself. If the researcher wants to make the study effective in the practical world, he/she needs to amend it on a regular basis. For a change, the researcher needs new researches with a primary data collection process. This can become a tiring process.

More Focused On Literature Section:

In SLR, the readers are more concerned about the selected studies and their assessment. As a result, the whole quality of the research is dependent on the literature section. If any of the chosen research is not authentic, it will ruin the credibility of the whole research. Also, the comparison and arguments are highly focused on within the SLR. The research does not have other sections. The opinion of other authors is analysed by the researcher as well. It does not provide any recommendations or analysis that describes the researcher’s view.

Overlooks The Grey Literature:

SLR mainly focuses on the literature that is published on a public platform. The studies used for the review are successful and issued researches. Systematic literature neglects the grey literature and critique content. It never adds any research that is not issued. Only published content increases the chance of biasness in a review. When the literature does not add any public source, facts, or statistics in the literature, there is a chance that he/she can incorporate studies that are favourable for that stance. So that they can get their desired results in the review. The shortage of grey literature in a review can make the review weak.

The Researcher May Approve His/Her Desired Results:

The SLR provides a detailed analysis of the views of other authors. The researcher is free to choose previous researches for the review. They can choose the researches that assure them of their desired results. They can easily interpret the primary data of researches before conducting analysis. This allows them to choose the best research that supports their arguments. This can also be a biased approach towards the study. The research aims to be fair and neutral. If the researcher chooses the studies that are relating to a specific stance, it would only give a positive outcome.

Time-Consuming Process:

A systematic literature review is a time taking process because it incorporates many studies. The researcher needs to find the most relevant researches for the topic. You can encounter hundreds of articles and researches on a specific topic. But the process of finding and adding the best one is both difficult and time taking. As a result, searching strategies are time-consuming. This prolongs the whole span of research. If the researcher does not incorporate a precise study for review, it will decrease the quality of research. If you look at the process, the aspect of screening is time taking. This may be because of the SLR based method that requires primarily designed researches for the review.


  • Armitage, A. and Keeble-Allen, D., 2008. Undertaking a structured literature review or structuring a literature review: Tales from the field. In Proceedings of the 7th European Conference on Research Methodology for Business and Management Studies: ECRM2008, Regent’s College, London (p. 35).
  • Treadwell, J.R., Singh, S., Talati, R., McPheeters, M.L. and Reston, J.T., 2012. A framework for best evidence approaches can improve the transparency of systematic reviews. Journal of clinical epidemiology65(11), pp.1159-1162. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0895435612001679