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ABA, Health Admin, Social Work and More: How to Write a Literature Review

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This Guide was created by Carolyn Swidrak (retired).

Traditional or narrative literature review

This guide addresses how to prepare a traditional or narrative literature review. 

Why is a literature review important?

“The primary purpose of a literature review is to summarize evidence on a topic – to sum up what is known and what is not known. (Polit & Beck, 2018, p. 107)


Polit, D.F., & Beck, C.T. (2018). Essentials of nursing research: Appraising evidence for nursing practice. (9th ed.). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer

Other types of literature reviews

A traditional or narrative review is one type of review.  Others include:

  • systematic review
  • integrative review
  • scoping review

For more information on various types of reviews:

Ten Simple Rules for Writing a Literature Review