Discussion: Synthesis and Analysis
From this, common review types and their associated key attributes were identified and mapped against a Search, Appraisal, Synthesis and Analysis (SALSA) framework. Each review
type was analysed, its characteristics were described and its perceived strengths and weaknesses were outlined. An example of each type of review was identified and selected, primarily for its usefulness in illustrating review characteristics. No judgement of quality is implied by each selection.
Results: characterizing types of review
Fourteen review types and associated methodologies were analysed against the SALSA framework (see Table 1). To inform the subsequent analysis, the same framework had been previously applied to 17 review manuscripts identified from combining those figuring in the
Health Information and Libraries Journal
review feature between 2007 and 2009 with papers cited in Ankem’s Review of Reviews (see Table 2). A descriptive summary appears below.
A critical review aims to demonstrate that the writer has extensively researched the literature and critically evaluated its quality. It goes beyond mere description of identified articles and includes a degree of analysis and conceptual innovation. An effective critical review presents, analyses and synthesizes material from diverse sources. Its product perhaps most easily identifies it—typically manifest in a hypothesis or a model, not an answer. The resultant model may constitute a synthesis of existing models or schools of thought or it may be a completely new interpretation of the existing data.
The ‘critical’ component of this type of review is key to its value. Under normal circumstances, conceptual innovation develops through a process of evolution or accretion, with each successive version adding to its predecessors. A critical review provides an opportunity to ‘take stock’ and evaluate what is of value from the previous body of work. It may also attempt to resolve competing schools of thought. As such, it may provide a ‘launch pad’ for a new phase of conceptual development and subsequent ‘testing’.
Critical reviews do not typically demonstrate the systematicity of other
A typology of reviews,
M aria J. G
rant & Andrew Booth
© 2009 The authors
Journal com pilation ©
2009 H ealth Libraries Group.
H ealth Inform
ation and Libraries Journal
26, pp.91–108 94
Main review types characterized by methods used
Methods used (SALSA)
Search Appraisal Synthesis Analysis
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