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A literature review is a compilation of the research that has been done on a particular topic. The purpose is to present a summary of what is and is not known, identify gaps or areas of controversy, and to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the currently published work.
Review Article (or Review Literature)
Review articles provide an examination of recent or current literature on a particular topic. The range of material evaluated may be broad or very specific. It is usually not as in-depth as a Literature Review.
Research articles are published by scientists or researchers who want to make the results of their work known. Research articles usually include a summary of the research, a description of the research, how it was carried out, and the results. These studies could be experimental (on humans or animals) or observational.
Meta-analysis uses a statistical procedure to combine the findings from independent studies. These may then be used to evaluate therapeutic effectiveness and for planning new studies and is often used as an overview of clinical trials.
A systematic review focuses on a single question and tries to identify, appraise, select and synthesize all high-quality research evidence relevant to that question. It often uses the same techniques as the meta-analysis to combine valid research studies. The seven steps for preparing a systematic review as outlined by the Cochrane Handbook are: formulating the problem, locating & selecting studies, critical appraisal of the studies, collecting data, analyzing & presenting results, interpreting the results, improving & updating the systematic review.
Evidence-based medicine is a systematic process of appraising and using current research findings. It is a step-by-step process that includes formulating a clear clinical question of patient needs, searching the current literature, evaluating the literature and deciding which studies are valid and useful to the patient, applying the findings to the patient's care, and then evaluating the outcome.