Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Writing a Literature Review

OWL logo

Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

A literature review is a document or section of a document that collects key sources on a topic and discusses those sources in conversation with each other (also called synthesis ). The lit review is an important genre in many disciplines, not just literature (i.e., the study of works of literature such as novels and plays). When we say “literature review” or refer to “the literature,” we are talking about the research ( scholarship ) in a given field. You will often see the terms “the research,” “the scholarship,” and “the literature” used mostly interchangeably.

Where, when, and why would I write a lit review?

There are a number of different situations where you might write a literature review, each with slightly different expectations; different disciplines, too, have field-specific expectations for what a literature review is and does. For instance, in the humanities, authors might include more overt argumentation and interpretation of source material in their literature reviews, whereas in the sciences, authors are more likely to report study designs and results in their literature reviews; these differences reflect these disciplines’ purposes and conventions in scholarship. You should always look at examples from your own discipline and talk to professors or mentors in your field to be sure you understand your discipline’s conventions, for literature reviews as well as for any other genre.

A literature review can be a part of a research paper or scholarly article, usually falling after the introduction and before the research methods sections. In these cases, the lit review just needs to cover scholarship that is important to the issue you are writing about; sometimes it will also cover key sources that informed your research methodology.

Lit reviews can also be standalone pieces, either as assignments in a class or as publications. In a class, a lit review may be assigned to help students familiarize themselves with a topic and with scholarship in their field, get an idea of the other researchers working on the topic they’re interested in, find gaps in existing research in order to propose new projects, and/or develop a theoretical framework and methodology for later research. As a publication, a lit review usually is meant to help make other scholars’ lives easier by collecting and summarizing, synthesizing, and analyzing existing research on a topic. This can be especially helpful for students or scholars getting into a new research area, or for directing an entire community of scholars toward questions that have not yet been answered.

What are the parts of a lit review?

Most lit reviews use a basic introduction-body-conclusion structure; if your lit review is part of a larger paper, the introduction and conclusion pieces may be just a few sentences while you focus most of your attention on the body. If your lit review is a standalone piece, the introduction and conclusion take up more space and give you a place to discuss your goals, research methods, and conclusions separately from where you discuss the literature itself.


  • An introductory paragraph that explains what your working topic and thesis is
  • A forecast of key topics or texts that will appear in the review
  • Potentially, a description of how you found sources and how you analyzed them for inclusion and discussion in the review (more often found in published, standalone literature reviews than in lit review sections in an article or research paper)
  • Summarize and synthesize: Give an overview of the main points of each source and combine them into a coherent whole
  • Analyze and interpret: Don’t just paraphrase other researchers – add your own interpretations where possible, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole
  • Critically Evaluate: Mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
  • Write in well-structured paragraphs: Use transition words and topic sentence to draw connections, comparisons, and contrasts.


  • Summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance
  • Connect it back to your primary research question

How should I organize my lit review?

Lit reviews can take many different organizational patterns depending on what you are trying to accomplish with the review. Here are some examples:

  • Chronological : The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time, which helps familiarize the audience with the topic (for instance if you are introducing something that is not commonly known in your field). If you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order. Try to analyze the patterns, turning points, and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred (as mentioned previously, this may not be appropriate in your discipline — check with a teacher or mentor if you’re unsure).
  • Thematic : If you have found some recurring central themes that you will continue working with throughout your piece, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic. For example, if you are reviewing literature about women and religion, key themes can include the role of women in churches and the religious attitude towards women.
  • Qualitative versus quantitative research
  • Empirical versus theoretical scholarship
  • Divide the research by sociological, historical, or cultural sources
  • Theoretical : In many humanities articles, the literature review is the foundation for the theoretical framework. You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts. You can argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach or combine various theorical concepts to create a framework for your research.

What are some strategies or tips I can use while writing my lit review?

Any lit review is only as good as the research it discusses; make sure your sources are well-chosen and your research is thorough. Don’t be afraid to do more research if you discover a new thread as you’re writing. More info on the research process is available in our "Conducting Research" resources .

As you’re doing your research, create an annotated bibliography ( see our page on the this type of document ). Much of the information used in an annotated bibliography can be used also in a literature review, so you’ll be not only partially drafting your lit review as you research, but also developing your sense of the larger conversation going on among scholars, professionals, and any other stakeholders in your topic.

Usually you will need to synthesize research rather than just summarizing it. This means drawing connections between sources to create a picture of the scholarly conversation on a topic over time. Many student writers struggle to synthesize because they feel they don’t have anything to add to the scholars they are citing; here are some strategies to help you:

  • It often helps to remember that the point of these kinds of syntheses is to show your readers how you understand your research, to help them read the rest of your paper.
  • Writing teachers often say synthesis is like hosting a dinner party: imagine all your sources are together in a room, discussing your topic. What are they saying to each other?
  • Look at the in-text citations in each paragraph. Are you citing just one source for each paragraph? This usually indicates summary only. When you have multiple sources cited in a paragraph, you are more likely to be synthesizing them (not always, but often
  • Read more about synthesis here.

The most interesting literature reviews are often written as arguments (again, as mentioned at the beginning of the page, this is discipline-specific and doesn’t work for all situations). Often, the literature review is where you can establish your research as filling a particular gap or as relevant in a particular way. You have some chance to do this in your introduction in an article, but the literature review section gives a more extended opportunity to establish the conversation in the way you would like your readers to see it. You can choose the intellectual lineage you would like to be part of and whose definitions matter most to your thinking (mostly humanities-specific, but this goes for sciences as well). In addressing these points, you argue for your place in the conversation, which tends to make the lit review more compelling than a simple reporting of other sources.

Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.

  • Knowledge Base


  • How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates

How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates

Published on January 2, 2023 by Shona McCombes . Revised on September 11, 2023.

What is a literature review? A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources on a specific topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research that you can later apply to your paper, thesis, or dissertation topic .

There are five key steps to writing a literature review:

  • Search for relevant literature
  • Evaluate sources
  • Identify themes, debates, and gaps
  • Outline the structure
  • Write your literature review

A good literature review doesn’t just summarize sources—it analyzes, synthesizes , and critically evaluates to give a clear picture of the state of knowledge on the subject.

Table of contents

What is the purpose of a literature review, examples of literature reviews, step 1 – search for relevant literature, step 2 – evaluate and select sources, step 3 – identify themes, debates, and gaps, step 4 – outline your literature review’s structure, step 5 – write your literature review, free lecture slides, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions, introduction.

  • Quick Run-through
  • Step 1 & 2

When you write a thesis , dissertation , or research paper , you will likely have to conduct a literature review to situate your research within existing knowledge. The literature review gives you a chance to:

  • Demonstrate your familiarity with the topic and its scholarly context
  • Develop a theoretical framework and methodology for your research
  • Position your work in relation to other researchers and theorists
  • Show how your research addresses a gap or contributes to a debate
  • Evaluate the current state of research and demonstrate your knowledge of the scholarly debates around your topic.

Writing literature reviews is a particularly important skill if you want to apply for graduate school or pursue a career in research. We’ve written a step-by-step guide that you can follow below.

Literature review guide

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

Writing literature reviews can be quite challenging! A good starting point could be to look at some examples, depending on what kind of literature review you’d like to write.

  • Example literature review #1: “Why Do People Migrate? A Review of the Theoretical Literature” ( Theoretical literature review about the development of economic migration theory from the 1950s to today.)
  • Example literature review #2: “Literature review as a research methodology: An overview and guidelines” ( Methodological literature review about interdisciplinary knowledge acquisition and production.)
  • Example literature review #3: “The Use of Technology in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Thematic literature review about the effects of technology on language acquisition.)
  • Example literature review #4: “Learners’ Listening Comprehension Difficulties in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Chronological literature review about how the concept of listening skills has changed over time.)

You can also check out our templates with literature review examples and sample outlines at the links below.

Download Word doc Download Google doc

Before you begin searching for literature, you need a clearly defined topic .

If you are writing the literature review section of a dissertation or research paper, you will search for literature related to your research problem and questions .

Make a list of keywords

Start by creating a list of keywords related to your research question. Include each of the key concepts or variables you’re interested in, and list any synonyms and related terms. You can add to this list as you discover new keywords in the process of your literature search.

  • Social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok
  • Body image, self-perception, self-esteem, mental health
  • Generation Z, teenagers, adolescents, youth

Search for relevant sources

Use your keywords to begin searching for sources. Some useful databases to search for journals and articles include:

  • Your university’s library catalogue
  • Google Scholar
  • Project Muse (humanities and social sciences)
  • Medline (life sciences and biomedicine)
  • EconLit (economics)
  • Inspec (physics, engineering and computer science)

You can also use boolean operators to help narrow down your search.

Make sure to read the abstract to find out whether an article is relevant to your question. When you find a useful book or article, you can check the bibliography to find other relevant sources.

You likely won’t be able to read absolutely everything that has been written on your topic, so it will be necessary to evaluate which sources are most relevant to your research question.

For each publication, ask yourself:

  • What question or problem is the author addressing?
  • What are the key concepts and how are they defined?
  • What are the key theories, models, and methods?
  • Does the research use established frameworks or take an innovative approach?
  • What are the results and conclusions of the study?
  • How does the publication relate to other literature in the field? Does it confirm, add to, or challenge established knowledge?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the research?

Make sure the sources you use are credible , and make sure you read any landmark studies and major theories in your field of research.

You can use our template to summarize and evaluate sources you’re thinking about using. Click on either button below to download.

Take notes and cite your sources

As you read, you should also begin the writing process. Take notes that you can later incorporate into the text of your literature review.

It is important to keep track of your sources with citations to avoid plagiarism . It can be helpful to make an annotated bibliography , where you compile full citation information and write a paragraph of summary and analysis for each source. This helps you remember what you read and saves time later in the process.

A faster, more affordable way to improve your paper

Scribbr’s new AI Proofreader checks your document and corrects spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes with near-human accuracy and the efficiency of AI!

literature review article format

Proofread my paper

To begin organizing your literature review’s argument and structure, be sure you understand the connections and relationships between the sources you’ve read. Based on your reading and notes, you can look for:

  • Trends and patterns (in theory, method or results): do certain approaches become more or less popular over time?
  • Themes: what questions or concepts recur across the literature?
  • Debates, conflicts and contradictions: where do sources disagree?
  • Pivotal publications: are there any influential theories or studies that changed the direction of the field?
  • Gaps: what is missing from the literature? Are there weaknesses that need to be addressed?

This step will help you work out the structure of your literature review and (if applicable) show how your own research will contribute to existing knowledge.

  • Most research has focused on young women.
  • There is an increasing interest in the visual aspects of social media.
  • But there is still a lack of robust research on highly visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat—this is a gap that you could address in your own research.

There are various approaches to organizing the body of a literature review. Depending on the length of your literature review, you can combine several of these strategies (for example, your overall structure might be thematic, but each theme is discussed chronologically).


The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time. However, if you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order.

Try to analyze patterns, turning points and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred.

If you have found some recurring central themes, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic.

For example, if you are reviewing literature about inequalities in migrant health outcomes, key themes might include healthcare policy, language barriers, cultural attitudes, legal status, and economic access.


If you draw your sources from different disciplines or fields that use a variety of research methods , you might want to compare the results and conclusions that emerge from different approaches. For example:

  • Look at what results have emerged in qualitative versus quantitative research
  • Discuss how the topic has been approached by empirical versus theoretical scholarship
  • Divide the literature into sociological, historical, and cultural sources


A literature review is often the foundation for a theoretical framework . You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts.

You might argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach, or combine various theoretical concepts to create a framework for your research.

Like any other academic text , your literature review should have an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion . What you include in each depends on the objective of your literature review.

The introduction should clearly establish the focus and purpose of the literature review.

Depending on the length of your literature review, you might want to divide the body into subsections. You can use a subheading for each theme, time period, or methodological approach.

As you write, you can follow these tips:

  • Summarize and synthesize: give an overview of the main points of each source and combine them into a coherent whole
  • Analyze and interpret: don’t just paraphrase other researchers — add your own interpretations where possible, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole
  • Critically evaluate: mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
  • Write in well-structured paragraphs: use transition words and topic sentences to draw connections, comparisons and contrasts

In the conclusion, you should summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance.

When you’ve finished writing and revising your literature review, don’t forget to proofread thoroughly before submitting. Not a language expert? Check out Scribbr’s professional proofreading services !

This article has been adapted into lecture slides that you can use to teach your students about writing a literature review.

Scribbr slides are free to use, customize, and distribute for educational purposes.

Open Google Slides Download PowerPoint

If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility


  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources (such as books, journal articles, and theses) related to a specific topic or research question .

It is often written as part of a thesis, dissertation , or research paper , in order to situate your work in relation to existing knowledge.

There are several reasons to conduct a literature review at the beginning of a research project:

  • To familiarize yourself with the current state of knowledge on your topic
  • To ensure that you’re not just repeating what others have already done
  • To identify gaps in knowledge and unresolved problems that your research can address
  • To develop your theoretical framework and methodology
  • To provide an overview of the key findings and debates on the topic

Writing the literature review shows your reader how your work relates to existing research and what new insights it will contribute.

The literature review usually comes near the beginning of your thesis or dissertation . After the introduction , it grounds your research in a scholarly field and leads directly to your theoretical framework or methodology .

A literature review is a survey of credible sources on a topic, often used in dissertations , theses, and research papers . Literature reviews give an overview of knowledge on a subject, helping you identify relevant theories and methods, as well as gaps in existing research. Literature reviews are set up similarly to other  academic texts , with an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion .

An  annotated bibliography is a list of  source references that has a short description (called an annotation ) for each of the sources. It is often assigned as part of the research process for a  paper .  

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

McCombes, S. (2023, September 11). How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates. Scribbr. Retrieved November 21, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/dissertation/literature-review/

Is this article helpful?

Shona McCombes

Shona McCombes

Other students also liked, what is a theoretical framework | guide to organizing, what is a research methodology | steps & tips, how to write a research proposal | examples & templates, what is your plagiarism score.

  • UWF Libraries

Literature Review: Conducting & Writing

  • Sample Literature Reviews
  • Steps for Conducting a Lit Review
  • Finding "The Literature"
  • Organizing/Writing
  • Chicago: Notes Bibliography

Sample Lit Reviews from Communication Arts

Have an exemplary literature review.

  • Literature Review Sample 1
  • Literature Review Sample 2
  • Literature Review Sample 3

Have you written a stellar literature review you care to share for teaching purposes?

Are you an instructor who has received an exemplary literature review and have permission from the student to post?

Please contact Britt McGowan at [email protected] for inclusion in this guide. All disciplines welcome and encouraged.

  • << Previous: MLA Style
  • Next: Get Help! >>
  • Last Updated: Aug 24, 2023 9:59 AM
  • URL: https://libguides.uwf.edu/litreview

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Literature Reviews

What this handout is about.

This handout will explain what literature reviews are and offer insights into the form and construction of literature reviews in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.


OK. You’ve got to write a literature review. You dust off a novel and a book of poetry, settle down in your chair, and get ready to issue a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” as you leaf through the pages. “Literature review” done. Right?

Wrong! The “literature” of a literature review refers to any collection of materials on a topic, not necessarily the great literary texts of the world. “Literature” could be anything from a set of government pamphlets on British colonial methods in Africa to scholarly articles on the treatment of a torn ACL. And a review does not necessarily mean that your reader wants you to give your personal opinion on whether or not you liked these sources.

What is a literature review, then?

A literature review discusses published information in a particular subject area, and sometimes information in a particular subject area within a certain time period.

A literature review can be just a simple summary of the sources, but it usually has an organizational pattern and combines both summary and synthesis. A summary is a recap of the important information of the source, but a synthesis is a re-organization, or a reshuffling, of that information. It might give a new interpretation of old material or combine new with old interpretations. Or it might trace the intellectual progression of the field, including major debates. And depending on the situation, the literature review may evaluate the sources and advise the reader on the most pertinent or relevant.

But how is a literature review different from an academic research paper?

The main focus of an academic research paper is to develop a new argument, and a research paper is likely to contain a literature review as one of its parts. In a research paper, you use the literature as a foundation and as support for a new insight that you contribute. The focus of a literature review, however, is to summarize and synthesize the arguments and ideas of others without adding new contributions.

Why do we write literature reviews?

Literature reviews provide you with a handy guide to a particular topic. If you have limited time to conduct research, literature reviews can give you an overview or act as a stepping stone. For professionals, they are useful reports that keep them up to date with what is current in the field. For scholars, the depth and breadth of the literature review emphasizes the credibility of the writer in his or her field. Literature reviews also provide a solid background for a research paper’s investigation. Comprehensive knowledge of the literature of the field is essential to most research papers.

Who writes these things, anyway?

Literature reviews are written occasionally in the humanities, but mostly in the sciences and social sciences; in experiment and lab reports, they constitute a section of the paper. Sometimes a literature review is written as a paper in itself.

Let’s get to it! What should I do before writing the literature review?

If your assignment is not very specific, seek clarification from your instructor:

  • Roughly how many sources should you include?
  • What types of sources (books, journal articles, websites)?
  • Should you summarize, synthesize, or critique your sources by discussing a common theme or issue?
  • Should you evaluate your sources?
  • Should you provide subheadings and other background information, such as definitions and/or a history?

Find models

Look for other literature reviews in your area of interest or in the discipline and read them to get a sense of the types of themes you might want to look for in your own research or ways to organize your final review. You can simply put the word “review” in your search engine along with your other topic terms to find articles of this type on the Internet or in an electronic database. The bibliography or reference section of sources you’ve already read are also excellent entry points into your own research.

Narrow your topic

There are hundreds or even thousands of articles and books on most areas of study. The narrower your topic, the easier it will be to limit the number of sources you need to read in order to get a good survey of the material. Your instructor will probably not expect you to read everything that’s out there on the topic, but you’ll make your job easier if you first limit your scope.

Keep in mind that UNC Libraries have research guides and to databases relevant to many fields of study. You can reach out to the subject librarian for a consultation: https://library.unc.edu/support/consultations/ .

And don’t forget to tap into your professor’s (or other professors’) knowledge in the field. Ask your professor questions such as: “If you had to read only one book from the 90’s on topic X, what would it be?” Questions such as this help you to find and determine quickly the most seminal pieces in the field.

Consider whether your sources are current

Some disciplines require that you use information that is as current as possible. In the sciences, for instance, treatments for medical problems are constantly changing according to the latest studies. Information even two years old could be obsolete. However, if you are writing a review in the humanities, history, or social sciences, a survey of the history of the literature may be what is needed, because what is important is how perspectives have changed through the years or within a certain time period. Try sorting through some other current bibliographies or literature reviews in the field to get a sense of what your discipline expects. You can also use this method to consider what is currently of interest to scholars in this field and what is not.

Strategies for writing the literature review

Find a focus.

A literature review, like a term paper, is usually organized around ideas, not the sources themselves as an annotated bibliography would be organized. This means that you will not just simply list your sources and go into detail about each one of them, one at a time. No. As you read widely but selectively in your topic area, consider instead what themes or issues connect your sources together. Do they present one or different solutions? Is there an aspect of the field that is missing? How well do they present the material and do they portray it according to an appropriate theory? Do they reveal a trend in the field? A raging debate? Pick one of these themes to focus the organization of your review.

Convey it to your reader

A literature review may not have a traditional thesis statement (one that makes an argument), but you do need to tell readers what to expect. Try writing a simple statement that lets the reader know what is your main organizing principle. Here are a couple of examples:

The current trend in treatment for congestive heart failure combines surgery and medicine. More and more cultural studies scholars are accepting popular media as a subject worthy of academic consideration.

Consider organization

You’ve got a focus, and you’ve stated it clearly and directly. Now what is the most effective way of presenting the information? What are the most important topics, subtopics, etc., that your review needs to include? And in what order should you present them? Develop an organization for your review at both a global and local level:

First, cover the basic categories

Just like most academic papers, literature reviews also must contain at least three basic elements: an introduction or background information section; the body of the review containing the discussion of sources; and, finally, a conclusion and/or recommendations section to end the paper. The following provides a brief description of the content of each:

  • Introduction: Gives a quick idea of the topic of the literature review, such as the central theme or organizational pattern.
  • Body: Contains your discussion of sources and is organized either chronologically, thematically, or methodologically (see below for more information on each).
  • Conclusions/Recommendations: Discuss what you have drawn from reviewing literature so far. Where might the discussion proceed?

Organizing the body

Once you have the basic categories in place, then you must consider how you will present the sources themselves within the body of your paper. Create an organizational method to focus this section even further.

To help you come up with an overall organizational framework for your review, consider the following scenario:

You’ve decided to focus your literature review on materials dealing with sperm whales. This is because you’ve just finished reading Moby Dick, and you wonder if that whale’s portrayal is really real. You start with some articles about the physiology of sperm whales in biology journals written in the 1980’s. But these articles refer to some British biological studies performed on whales in the early 18th century. So you check those out. Then you look up a book written in 1968 with information on how sperm whales have been portrayed in other forms of art, such as in Alaskan poetry, in French painting, or on whale bone, as the whale hunters in the late 19th century used to do. This makes you wonder about American whaling methods during the time portrayed in Moby Dick, so you find some academic articles published in the last five years on how accurately Herman Melville portrayed the whaling scene in his novel.

Now consider some typical ways of organizing the sources into a review:

  • Chronological: If your review follows the chronological method, you could write about the materials above according to when they were published. For instance, first you would talk about the British biological studies of the 18th century, then about Moby Dick, published in 1851, then the book on sperm whales in other art (1968), and finally the biology articles (1980s) and the recent articles on American whaling of the 19th century. But there is relatively no continuity among subjects here. And notice that even though the sources on sperm whales in other art and on American whaling are written recently, they are about other subjects/objects that were created much earlier. Thus, the review loses its chronological focus.
  • By publication: Order your sources by publication chronology, then, only if the order demonstrates a more important trend. For instance, you could order a review of literature on biological studies of sperm whales if the progression revealed a change in dissection practices of the researchers who wrote and/or conducted the studies.
  • By trend: A better way to organize the above sources chronologically is to examine the sources under another trend, such as the history of whaling. Then your review would have subsections according to eras within this period. For instance, the review might examine whaling from pre-1600-1699, 1700-1799, and 1800-1899. Under this method, you would combine the recent studies on American whaling in the 19th century with Moby Dick itself in the 1800-1899 category, even though the authors wrote a century apart.
  • Thematic: Thematic reviews of literature are organized around a topic or issue, rather than the progression of time. However, progression of time may still be an important factor in a thematic review. For instance, the sperm whale review could focus on the development of the harpoon for whale hunting. While the study focuses on one topic, harpoon technology, it will still be organized chronologically. The only difference here between a “chronological” and a “thematic” approach is what is emphasized the most: the development of the harpoon or the harpoon technology.But more authentic thematic reviews tend to break away from chronological order. For instance, a thematic review of material on sperm whales might examine how they are portrayed as “evil” in cultural documents. The subsections might include how they are personified, how their proportions are exaggerated, and their behaviors misunderstood. A review organized in this manner would shift between time periods within each section according to the point made.
  • Methodological: A methodological approach differs from the two above in that the focusing factor usually does not have to do with the content of the material. Instead, it focuses on the “methods” of the researcher or writer. For the sperm whale project, one methodological approach would be to look at cultural differences between the portrayal of whales in American, British, and French art work. Or the review might focus on the economic impact of whaling on a community. A methodological scope will influence either the types of documents in the review or the way in which these documents are discussed. Once you’ve decided on the organizational method for the body of the review, the sections you need to include in the paper should be easy to figure out. They should arise out of your organizational strategy. In other words, a chronological review would have subsections for each vital time period. A thematic review would have subtopics based upon factors that relate to the theme or issue.

Sometimes, though, you might need to add additional sections that are necessary for your study, but do not fit in the organizational strategy of the body. What other sections you include in the body is up to you. Put in only what is necessary. Here are a few other sections you might want to consider:

  • Current Situation: Information necessary to understand the topic or focus of the literature review.
  • History: The chronological progression of the field, the literature, or an idea that is necessary to understand the literature review, if the body of the literature review is not already a chronology.
  • Methods and/or Standards: The criteria you used to select the sources in your literature review or the way in which you present your information. For instance, you might explain that your review includes only peer-reviewed articles and journals.

Questions for Further Research: What questions about the field has the review sparked? How will you further your research as a result of the review?

Begin composing

Once you’ve settled on a general pattern of organization, you’re ready to write each section. There are a few guidelines you should follow during the writing stage as well. Here is a sample paragraph from a literature review about sexism and language to illuminate the following discussion:

However, other studies have shown that even gender-neutral antecedents are more likely to produce masculine images than feminine ones (Gastil, 1990). Hamilton (1988) asked students to complete sentences that required them to fill in pronouns that agreed with gender-neutral antecedents such as “writer,” “pedestrian,” and “persons.” The students were asked to describe any image they had when writing the sentence. Hamilton found that people imagined 3.3 men to each woman in the masculine “generic” condition and 1.5 men per woman in the unbiased condition. Thus, while ambient sexism accounted for some of the masculine bias, sexist language amplified the effect. (Source: Erika Falk and Jordan Mills, “Why Sexist Language Affects Persuasion: The Role of Homophily, Intended Audience, and Offense,” Women and Language19:2).

Use evidence

In the example above, the writers refer to several other sources when making their point. A literature review in this sense is just like any other academic research paper. Your interpretation of the available sources must be backed up with evidence to show that what you are saying is valid.

Be selective

Select only the most important points in each source to highlight in the review. The type of information you choose to mention should relate directly to the review’s focus, whether it is thematic, methodological, or chronological.

Use quotes sparingly

Falk and Mills do not use any direct quotes. That is because the survey nature of the literature review does not allow for in-depth discussion or detailed quotes from the text. Some short quotes here and there are okay, though, if you want to emphasize a point, or if what the author said just cannot be rewritten in your own words. Notice that Falk and Mills do quote certain terms that were coined by the author, not common knowledge, or taken directly from the study. But if you find yourself wanting to put in more quotes, check with your instructor.

Summarize and synthesize

Remember to summarize and synthesize your sources within each paragraph as well as throughout the review. The authors here recapitulate important features of Hamilton’s study, but then synthesize it by rephrasing the study’s significance and relating it to their own work.

Keep your own voice

While the literature review presents others’ ideas, your voice (the writer’s) should remain front and center. Notice that Falk and Mills weave references to other sources into their own text, but they still maintain their own voice by starting and ending the paragraph with their own ideas and their own words. The sources support what Falk and Mills are saying.

Use caution when paraphrasing

When paraphrasing a source that is not your own, be sure to represent the author’s information or opinions accurately and in your own words. In the preceding example, Falk and Mills either directly refer in the text to the author of their source, such as Hamilton, or they provide ample notation in the text when the ideas they are mentioning are not their own, for example, Gastil’s. For more information, please see our handout on plagiarism .

Revise, revise, revise

Draft in hand? Now you’re ready to revise. Spending a lot of time revising is a wise idea, because your main objective is to present the material, not the argument. So check over your review again to make sure it follows the assignment and/or your outline. Then, just as you would for most other academic forms of writing, rewrite or rework the language of your review so that you’ve presented your information in the most concise manner possible. Be sure to use terminology familiar to your audience; get rid of unnecessary jargon or slang. Finally, double check that you’ve documented your sources and formatted the review appropriately for your discipline. For tips on the revising and editing process, see our handout on revising drafts .

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Anson, Chris M., and Robert A. Schwegler. 2010. The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers , 6th ed. New York: Longman.

Jones, Robert, Patrick Bizzaro, and Cynthia Selfe. 1997. The Harcourt Brace Guide to Writing in the Disciplines . New York: Harcourt Brace.

Lamb, Sandra E. 1998. How to Write It: A Complete Guide to Everything You’ll Ever Write . Berkeley: Ten Speed Press.

Rosen, Leonard J., and Laurence Behrens. 2003. The Allyn & Bacon Handbook , 5th ed. New York: Longman.

Troyka, Lynn Quittman, and Doug Hesse. 2016. Simon and Schuster Handbook for Writers , 11th ed. London: Pearson.

Creative Commons License

Make a Gift

The Sheridan Libraries

  • Write a Literature Review
  • Sheridan Libraries
  • Find This link opens in a new window
  • Evaluate This link opens in a new window

What Will You Do Differently?

Please help your librarians by filling out this two-minute survey of today's class session..

Professor, this one's for you .


Literature reviews take time. here is some general information to know before you start.  .

  •  VIDEO -- This video is a great overview of the entire process.  (2020; North Carolina State University Libraries) --The transcript is included --This is for everyone; ignore the mention of "graduate students" --9.5 minutes, and every second is important  
  • OVERVIEW -- Read this page from Purdue's OWL. It's not long, and gives some tips to fill in what you just learned from the video.  
  • NOT A RESEARCH ARTICLE -- A literature review follows a different style, format, and structure from a research article.  

Steps to Completing a Literature Review

literature review article format

  • Next: Find >>
  • Last Updated: Sep 26, 2023 10:25 AM
  • URL: https://guides.library.jhu.edu/lit-review

Purdue University

  • Ask a Librarian

Research: Overview & Approaches

  • Getting Started with Undergraduate Research
  • Planning & Getting Started
  • Building Your Knowledge Base
  • Locating Sources
  • Reading Scholarly Articles
  • Creating a Literature Review

Finding and Completing a Literature Review

Intro to creating a literature review.

  • Productivity & Organizing Research
  • Scholarly and Professional Relationships
  • Empirical Research
  • Interpretive Research
  • Action-Based Research
  • Creative & Experimental Approaches

  • Palgrave's Study Guide to Carrying Out a Literature Review Your research is seen as a contribution to knowledge in the field and it needs to indicate, therefore, that there is an awareness of what that knowledge comprises. Read this guide to getting started.
  • Purdue OWL's Guide to Writing a Literature Review A literature review requires the writer to perform extensive research on published work in one’s field in order to explain how one’s own work fits into the larger conversation regarding a particular topic. This task requires the writer to spend time reading, managing, and conveying information; the complexity of literature reviews can make this section one of the most challenging parts of writing about one’s research. This handout will provide some strategies for revising literature reviews.

Every time you conduct research, you will need to make it clear where you got your evidence from. This work of citing our sources is absolutely essential for a couple of reasons.

  • It demonstrates to the readers of our own research that we have evidence to back up our claims.
  • A complete and correct citation directs readers to the original source for them to verify our claims and learn more.
  • It gives credit to the researchers whose intellectual work helped form our own research.
  • << Previous: Reading Scholarly Articles
  • Next: Productivity & Organizing Research >>
  • Last Edited: Nov 10, 2023 3:32 PM
  • URL: https://guides.lib.purdue.edu/research_approaches


Literature Review

  • Steps for Conducting a Lit Review
  • Finding "The Literature"
  • Organizing/Writing
  • Sample Literature Reviews
  • FAMU Writing Center

Sample Lit Reviews from Communication Arts

  • Literature Review Sample 1
  • Literature Review Sample 2
  • Literature Review Sample 3
  • << Previous: MLA Style
  • Next: FAMU Writing Center >>
  • Last Updated: Oct 20, 2022 11:24 AM
  • URL: https://library.famu.edu/literaturereview

How to write a good scientific review article


  • 1 The FEBS Journal Editorial Office, Cambridge, UK.
  • PMID: 35792782
  • DOI: 10.1111/febs.16565

Literature reviews are valuable resources for the scientific community. With research accelerating at an unprecedented speed in recent years and more and more original papers being published, review articles have become increasingly important as a means to keep up to date with developments in a particular area of research. A good review article provides readers with an in-depth understanding of a field and highlights key gaps and challenges to address with future research. Writing a review article also helps to expand the writer's knowledge of their specialist area and to develop their analytical and communication skills, amongst other benefits. Thus, the importance of building review-writing into a scientific career cannot be overstated. In this instalment of The FEBS Journal's Words of Advice series, I provide detailed guidance on planning and writing an informative and engaging literature review.

© 2022 Federation of European Biochemical Societies.

Publication types

Georgia Gwinnett College Kaufman Library logo

How To Structure Your Literature Review

3 options to help structure your chapter.

By: Amy Rommelspacher (PhD) | Reviewer: Dr Eunice Rautenbach | November 2020 (Updated May 2023)

Writing the literature review chapter can seem pretty daunting when you’re piecing together your dissertation or thesis. As  we’ve discussed before , a good literature review needs to achieve a few very important objectives – it should:

  • Demonstrate your knowledge of the research topic
  • Identify the gaps in the literature and show how your research links to these
  • Provide the foundation for your conceptual framework (if you have one)
  • Inform your own  methodology and research design

To achieve this, your literature review needs a well-thought-out structure . Get the structure of your literature review chapter wrong and you’ll struggle to achieve these objectives. Don’t worry though – in this post, we’ll look at how to structure your literature review for maximum impact (and marks!).

The function of the lit review

But wait – is this the right time?

Deciding on the structure of your literature review should come towards the end of the literature review process – after you have collected and digested the literature, but before you start writing the chapter. 

In other words, you need to first develop a rich understanding of the literature before you even attempt to map out a structure. There’s no use trying to develop a structure before you’ve fully wrapped your head around the existing research.

Equally importantly, you need to have a structure in place before you start writing , or your literature review will most likely end up a rambling, disjointed mess. 

Importantly, don’t feel that once you’ve defined a structure you can’t iterate on it. It’s perfectly natural to adjust as you engage in the writing process. As we’ve discussed before , writing is a way of developing your thinking, so it’s quite common for your thinking to change – and therefore, for your chapter structure to change – as you write. 

Need a helping hand?

literature review article format

Like any other chapter in your thesis or dissertation, your literature review needs to have a clear, logical structure. At a minimum, it should have three essential components – an  introduction , a  body   and a  conclusion . 

Let’s take a closer look at each of these.

1: The Introduction Section

Just like any good introduction, the introduction section of your literature review should introduce the purpose and layout (organisation) of the chapter. In other words, your introduction needs to give the reader a taste of what’s to come, and how you’re going to lay that out. Essentially, you should provide the reader with a high-level roadmap of your chapter to give them a taste of the journey that lies ahead.

Here’s an example of the layout visualised in a literature review introduction:

Example of literature review outline structure

Your introduction should also outline your topic (including any tricky terminology or jargon) and provide an explanation of the scope of your literature review – in other words, what you  will   and  won’t   be covering (the delimitations ). This helps ringfence your review and achieve a clear focus . The clearer and narrower your focus, the deeper you can dive into the topic (which is typically where the magic lies). 

Depending on the nature of your project, you could also present your stance or point of view at this stage. In other words, after grappling with the literature you’ll have an opinion about what the trends and concerns are in the field as well as what’s lacking. The introduction section can then present these ideas so that it is clear to examiners that you’re aware of how your research connects with existing knowledge .

Webinar - how to write a literature review

2: The Body Section

The body of your literature review is the centre of your work. This is where you’ll present, analyse, evaluate and synthesise the existing research. In other words, this is where you’re going to earn (or lose) the most marks. Therefore, it’s important to carefully think about how you will organise your discussion to present it in a clear way. 

The body of your literature review should do just as the description of this chapter suggests. It should “review” the literature – in other words, identify, analyse, and synthesise it. So, when thinking about structuring your literature review, you need to think about which structural approach will provide the best “review” for your specific type of research and objectives (we’ll get to this shortly).

There are (broadly speaking)  three options  for organising your literature review.

The body section of your literature review is the where you'll present, analyse, evaluate and synthesise the existing research.

Option 1: Chronological (according to date)

Organising the literature chronologically is one of the simplest ways to structure your literature review. You start with what was published first and work your way through the literature until you reach the work published most recently. Pretty straightforward.

The benefit of this option is that it makes it easy to discuss the developments and debates in the field as they emerged over time. Organising your literature chronologically also allows you to highlight how specific articles or pieces of work might have changed the course of the field – in other words, which research has had the most impact . Therefore, this approach is very useful when your research is aimed at understanding how the topic has unfolded over time and is often used by scholars in the field of history. That said, this approach can be utilised by anyone that wants to explore change over time .

Adopting the chronological structure allows you to discuss the developments and debates in the field as they emerged over time.

For example , if a student of politics is investigating how the understanding of democracy has evolved over time, they could use the chronological approach to provide a narrative that demonstrates how this understanding has changed through the ages.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you structure your literature review chronologically.

  • What is the earliest literature published relating to this topic?
  • How has the field changed over time? Why?
  • What are the most recent discoveries/theories?

In some ways, chronology plays a part whichever way you decide to structure your literature review, because you will always, to a certain extent, be analysing how the literature has developed. However, with the chronological approach, the emphasis is very firmly on how the discussion has evolved over time , as opposed to how all the literature links together (which we’ll discuss next ).

Option 2: Thematic (grouped by theme)

The thematic approach to structuring a literature review means organising your literature by theme or category – for example, by independent variables (i.e. factors that have an impact on a specific outcome).

As you’ve been collecting and synthesising literature , you’ll likely have started seeing some themes or patterns emerging. You can then use these themes or patterns as a structure for your body discussion. The thematic approach is the most common approach and is useful for structuring literature reviews in most fields.

For example, if you were researching which factors contributed towards people trusting an organisation, you might find themes such as consumers’ perceptions of an organisation’s competence, benevolence and integrity. Structuring your literature review thematically would mean structuring your literature review’s body section to discuss each of these themes, one section at a time.

The thematic structure allows you to organise your literature by theme or category  – e.g. by independent variables.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when structuring your literature review by themes:

  • Are there any patterns that have come to light in the literature?
  • What are the central themes and categories used by the researchers?
  • Do I have enough evidence of these themes?

PS – you can see an example of a thematically structured literature review in our literature review sample walkthrough video here.

Option 3: Methodological

The methodological option is a way of structuring your literature review by the research methodologies used . In other words, organising your discussion based on the angle from which each piece of research was approached – for example, qualitative , quantitative or mixed  methodologies.

Structuring your literature review by methodology can be useful if you are drawing research from a variety of disciplines and are critiquing different methodologies. The point of this approach is to question  how  existing research has been conducted, as opposed to  what  the conclusions and/or findings the research were.

The methodological structure allows you to organise your chapter by the analysis method  used - e.g. qual, quant or mixed.

For example, a sociologist might centre their research around critiquing specific fieldwork practices. Their literature review will then be a summary of the fieldwork methodologies used by different studies.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself when structuring your literature review according to methodology:

  • Which methodologies have been utilised in this field?
  • Which methodology is the most popular (and why)?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the various methodologies?
  • How can the existing methodologies inform my own methodology?

3: The Conclusion Section

Once you’ve completed the body section of your literature review using one of the structural approaches we discussed above, you’ll need to “wrap up” your literature review and pull all the pieces together to set the direction for the rest of your dissertation or thesis.

The conclusion is where you’ll present the key findings of your literature review. In this section, you should emphasise the research that is especially important to your research questions and highlight the gaps that exist in the literature. Based on this, you need to make it clear what you will add to the literature – in other words, justify your own research by showing how it will help fill one or more of the gaps you just identified.

Last but not least, if it’s your intention to develop a conceptual framework for your dissertation or thesis, the conclusion section is a good place to present this.

In the conclusion section, you’ll need to present the key findings of your literature review and highlight the gaps that exist in the literature. Based on this, you'll  need to make it clear what your study will add  to the literature.

Example: Thematically Structured Review

In the video below, we unpack a literature review chapter so that you can see an example of a thematically structure review in practice.

Let’s Recap

In this article, we’ve  discussed how to structure your literature review for maximum impact. Here’s a quick recap of what  you need to keep in mind when deciding on your literature review structure:

  • Just like other chapters, your literature review needs a clear introduction , body and conclusion .
  • The introduction section should provide an overview of what you will discuss in your literature review.
  • The body section of your literature review can be organised by chronology , theme or methodology . The right structural approach depends on what you’re trying to achieve with your research.
  • The conclusion section should draw together the key findings of your literature review and link them to your research questions.

If you’re ready to get started, be sure to download our free literature review template to fast-track your chapter outline.

Literature Review Course

Psst… there’s more!

This post is an extract from our bestselling Udemy Course, Literature Review Bootcamp . If you want to work smart, you don't want to miss this .

You Might Also Like:

Literature review 101 - how to find articles



Great work. This is exactly what I was looking for and helps a lot together with your previous post on literature review. One last thing is missing: a link to a great literature chapter of an journal article (maybe with comments of the different sections in this review chapter). Do you know any great literature review chapters?


I agree with you Marin… A great piece


I agree with Marin. This would be quite helpful if you annotate a nicely structured literature from previously published research articles.

Maurice Kagwi

Awesome article for my research.

Ache Roland Ndifor

I thank you immensely for this wonderful guide

Malik Imtiaz Ahmad

It is indeed thought and supportive work for the futurist researcher and students

Franklin Zon

Very educative and good time to get guide. Thank you


Great work, very insightful. Thank you.


Thanks for this wonderful presentation. My question is that do I put all the variables into a single conceptual framework or each hypothesis will have it own conceptual framework?


Thank you very much, very helpful

Michael Sanya Oluyede

This is very educative and precise . Thank you very much for dropping this kind of write up .

Karla Buchanan

Pheeww, so damn helpful, thank you for this informative piece.

Enang Lazarus

I’m doing a research project topic ; stool analysis for parasitic worm (enteric) worm, how do I structure it, thanks.

Biswadeb Dasgupta

comprehensive explanation. Help us by pasting the URL of some good “literature review” for better understanding.


great piece. thanks for the awesome explanation. it is really worth sharing. I have a little question, if anyone can help me out, which of the options in the body of literature can be best fit if you are writing an architectural thesis that deals with design?

S Dlamini

I am doing a research on nanofluids how can l structure it?


Beautifully clear.nThank you!

Lucid! Thankyou!


Brilliant work, well understood, many thanks


I like how this was so clear with simple language 😊😊 thank you so much 😊 for these information 😊


Insightful. I was struggling to come up with a sensible literature review but this has been really helpful. Thank you!


You have given thought-provoking information about the review of the literature.


Thank you. It has made my own research better and to impart your work to students I teach


I learnt a lot from this teaching. It’s a great piece.


I am doing research on EFL teacher motivation for his/her job. How Can I structure it? Is there any detailed template, additional to this?

Gerald Gormanous

You are so cool! I do not think I’ve read through something like this before. So nice to find somebody with some genuine thoughts on this issue. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This site is one thing that is required on the internet, someone with a little originality!

Submit a Comment Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

literature review article format

  • Print Friendly
  • Search Menu
  • Advance Articles
  • Editor's Choice
  • CME Reviews
  • Best of 2021 collection
  • Abbreviated Breast MRI Virtual Collection
  • Contrast-enhanced Mammography Collection
  • Author Guidelines
  • Submission Site
  • Open Access
  • Self-Archiving Policy
  • Accepted Papers Resource Guide
  • About Journal of Breast Imaging
  • About the Society of Breast Imaging
  • Guidelines for Reviewers
  • Resources for Reviewers and Authors
  • Editorial Board
  • Advertising Disclaimer
  • Advertising and Corporate Services
  • Journals on Oxford Academic
  • Books on Oxford Academic

Society of Breast Imaging

Article Contents

Introduction, selection of a topic, scientific literature search and analysis, structure of a scientific review article, tips for success, acknowledgments, conflict of interest statement.

  • < Previous

A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Scientific Review Article

  • Article contents
  • Figures & tables
  • Supplementary Data

Manisha Bahl, A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Scientific Review Article, Journal of Breast Imaging , Volume 5, Issue 4, July/August 2023, Pages 480–485, https://doi.org/10.1093/jbi/wbad028

  • Permissions Icon Permissions

Scientific review articles are comprehensive, focused reviews of the scientific literature written by subject matter experts. The task of writing a scientific review article can seem overwhelming; however, it can be managed by using an organized approach and devoting sufficient time to the process. The process involves selecting a topic about which the authors are knowledgeable and enthusiastic, conducting a literature search and critical analysis of the literature, and writing the article, which is composed of an abstract, introduction, body, and conclusion, with accompanying tables and figures. This article, which focuses on the narrative or traditional literature review, is intended to serve as a guide with practical steps for new writers. Tips for success are also discussed, including selecting a focused topic, maintaining objectivity and balance while writing, avoiding tedious data presentation in a laundry list format, moving from descriptions of the literature to critical analysis, avoiding simplistic conclusions, and budgeting time for the overall process.

Scientific review articles provide a focused and comprehensive review of the available evidence about a subject, explain the current state of knowledge, and identify gaps that could be topics for potential future research.

Detailed tables reviewing the relevant scientific literature are important components of high-quality scientific review articles.

Tips for success include selecting a focused topic, maintaining objectivity and balance, avoiding tedious data presentation, providing a critical analysis rather than only a description of the literature, avoiding simplistic conclusions, and budgeting time for the overall process.

The process of researching and writing a scientific review article can be a seemingly daunting task but can be made manageable, and even enjoyable, if an organized approach is used and a reasonable timeline is given. Scientific review articles provide authors with an opportunity to synthesize the available evidence about a specific subject, contribute their insights to the field, and identify opportunities for future research. The authors, in turn, gain recognition as subject matter experts and thought leaders in the field. An additional benefit to the authors is that high-quality review articles can often be cited many years after publication ( 1 , 2 ). The reader of a scientific review article should gain an understanding of the current state of knowledge on the subject, points of controversy, and research questions that have yet to be answered ( 3 ).

There are two types of review articles, narrative or traditional literature reviews and systematic reviews, which may or may not be accompanied by a meta-analysis ( 4 ). This article, which focuses on the narrative or traditional literature review, is intended to serve as a guide with practical steps for new writers. It is geared toward breast imaging radiologists who are preparing to write a scientific review article for the Journal of Breast Imaging but can also be used by any writer, reviewer, or reader. In the narrative or traditional literature review, the available scientific literature is synthesized and no new data are presented. This article first discusses the process of selecting an appropriate topic. Then, practical tips for conducting a literature search and analyzing the literature are provided. The structure of a scientific review article is outlined and tips for success are described.

Scientific review articles are often solicited by journal editors and written by experts in the field. For solicited or invited articles, a senior expert in the field may be contacted and, in turn, may ask junior faculty or trainees to help with the literature search and writing process. Most journals also consider proposals for review article topics. The journal’s editorial office can be contacted via e-mail with a topic proposal, ideally with an accompanying outline or an extended abstract to help explain the proposal.

When selecting a topic for a scientific review article, the following considerations should be taken into account: The authors should be knowledgeable about and interested in the topic; the journal’s audience should be interested in the topic; and the topic should be focused, with a sufficient number of current research studies ( Figure 1 ). For the Journal of Breast Imaging , a scientific review article on breast MRI would be too broad in scope. Examples of more focused topics include abbreviated breast MRI ( 5 ), concerns about gadolinium deposition in the setting of screening MRI ( 6 ), Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) 3 assessments on MRI ( 7 , 8 ), the science of background parenchymal enhancement ( 9 ), and screening MRI in women at intermediate risk ( 10 ).

Summary of the factors to consider when selecting a topic for a scientific review article. Adapted with permission from Dhillon et al (2).

Summary of the factors to consider when selecting a topic for a scientific review article. Adapted with permission from Dhillon et al ( 2 ).

Once a well-defined topic is selected, the next step is to conduct a literature search. There are multiple indexing databases that can be used for a literature search, including PubMed, SCOPUS, and Web of Science ( 11–13 ). A list of databases with links can be found on the National Institutes of Health website ( 14 ). It is advised to keep track of the search terms that are used so that the search could be replicated if needed.

While reading articles, taking notes and keeping track of findings in a spreadsheet or database can be helpful. The following points should be considered for each article: What is the purpose of the article, and is it relevant to the review article topic? What was the study design (eg, retrospective analysis, randomized controlled trial)? Are the conclusions that are drawn based on the presented data valid and reasonable? What are the strengths and limitations of the study? In the discussion section, do the authors discuss other literature that both supports and contradicts their findings? It can also be helpful to read accompanying editorials, if available, that are written by experts to explain the importance of the original scientific article in the context of other work in the field.

If previous review articles on the same topic are discovered during the literature search, then the following strategies could be considered: discussing approaches used and limitations of past reviews, identifying a new angle that has not been previously covered, and/or focusing on new research that has been published since the most recent reviews on the topic ( 3 ). It is highly encouraged to create an outline and solicit feedback from co-authors before writing begins.

Writing a high-quality scientific review article is “a balancing act between the scientific rigor needed to select and critically appraise original studies, and the art of telling a story by providing context, exploring the known and the unknown, and pointing the way forward” ( 15 ). The ideal scientific review article is balanced and authoritative and serves as a definitive reference on the topic. Review articles tend to be 4000 to 5000 words in length, with 80% to 90% devoted to the body.

When preparing a scientific review article, writers can consider using the Scale for the Assessment of Narrative Review Articles, which has been proposed as a critical appraisal tool to help editors, reviewers, and readers assess non–systematic review articles ( 16 ). It is composed of the following six items, which are rated from 0 to 2 (with 0 being low quality and 2 being high quality): explanation of why the article is important, statement of aims or questions to be addressed, description of the literature search strategy, inclusion of appropriate references, scientific reasoning, and appropriate data presentation. In a study with three raters each reviewing 30 articles, the scale was felt to be feasible in daily editorial work and had high inter-rater reliability.

The components of a scientific review article include the abstract, introduction, body, conclusion, references, tables, and figures, which are described below.

Abstracts are typically structured as a single paragraph, ranging from 200 to 250 words in length. The abstract briefly explains why the topic is important, provides a summary of the main conclusions that are being drawn based on the research studies that were included and analyzed in the review article, and describes how the article is organized ( 17 ). Because the abstract should provide a summary of the main conclusions being drawn, it is often written last, after the other sections of the article have been completed. It does not include references.

The introduction provides detailed background about the topic and outlines the objectives of the review article. It is important to explain why the literature on that topic should be reviewed (eg, no prior reviews, different angle from prior reviews, new published research). The problem-gap-hook approach can be used, in which the topic is introduced, the gap is explained (eg, lack of published synthesis), and the hook (or why it matters) is provided ( 18 ). If there are prior review articles on the topic, particularly recent ones, then the authors are encouraged to justify how their review contributes to the existing literature. The content in the introduction section should be supported with references, but specific findings from recent research studies are typically not described, instead being discussed in depth in the body.

In a traditional or narrative review article, a methods section is optional. The methods section should include a list of the databases and years that were searched, search terms that were used, and a summary of the inclusion and exclusion criteria for articles ( 17 , 19 ).

The body can take different forms depending on the topic but should be organized into sections with subheadings, with each subsection having an independent introduction and conclusion. In the body, published studies should be reviewed in detail and in an organized fashion. In general, each paragraph should begin with a thesis statement or main point, and the sentences that follow it should consist of supporting evidence drawn from the literature. Research studies need not be discussed in chronological order, and the results from one research study may be discussed in different sections of the body. For example, if writing a scientific review article on screening digital breast tomosynthesis, cancer detection rates reported in one study may be discussed in a separate paragraph from the false-positive rates that were reported in the same study.

Emphasis should be placed on the significance of the study results in the broader context of the subject. The strengths and weaknesses of individual studies should be discussed. An example of this type of discussion is as follows: “Smith et al found no differences in re-excision rates among breast cancer patients who did and did not undergo preoperative MRI. However, there were several important limitations of this study. The radiologists were not required to have breast MRI interpretation experience, nor was it required that MRI-detected findings undergo biopsy prior to surgery.” Other examples of phrases that can be used for constructive criticism are available online ( 20 ).

The conclusion section ties everything together and clearly states the conclusions that are being drawn based on the research studies included and analyzed in the article. The authors are also encouraged to provide their views on future research, important challenges, and unanswered questions.

Scientific review articles tend to have a large number of supporting references (up to 100). When possible, referencing the original article (rather than a review article referring to the original article) is preferred. The use of a reference manager, such as EndNote (Clarivate, London, UK) ( 21 ), Mendeley Desktop (Elsevier, Amsterdam, the Netherlands) ( 22 ), Paperpile (Paperpile LLC, Cambridge, MA) ( 23 ), RefWorks (ProQuest, Ann Arbor, MI) ( 24 ), or Zotero (Corporation for Digital Scholarship, Fairfax, VA) ( 25 ), is highly encouraged, as it ensures appropriate reference ordering even when text is moved or added and can facilitate the switching of formats based on journal requirements ( 26 ).

Tables and Figures

The inclusion of tables and figures can improve the readability of the review. Detailed tables that review the scientific literature are expected ( Table 1 ). A table listing gaps in knowledge as potential areas for future research may also be included ( 17 ). Although scientific review articles are not expected to be as figure-rich as educational review articles, figures can be beneficial to illustrate complex concepts and summarize or synthesize relevant data ( Figure 2 ). Of note, if nonoriginal figures are used, permission from the copyright owner must be obtained.

Example of an Effective Table From a Scientific Review Article About Screening MRI in Women at Intermediate Risk of Breast Cancer.

Abbreviations: ADH, atypical ductal hyperplasia; ALH, atypical lobular hyperplasia; CDR, cancer detection rate; LCIS, lobular carcinoma in situ; NR, not reported; PPV, positive predictive value. NOTE: The Detailed Table Provides a Summary of the Relevant Scientific Literature on Screening MRI in women with lobular neoplasia or ADH. Adapted with permission from Bahl ( 10 ).

a The reported CDR is an incremental CDR in the studies by Friedlander et al and Chikarmane et al. In all studies, some, but not all, included patients had a prior MRI examination, so the reported CDR represents a combination of both the prevalent and incident CDRs.

b This study included 455 patients with LCIS (some of whom had concurrent ALH or ADH). Twenty-nine cancers were MRI-detected, and 115 benign biopsies were prompted by MRI findings.

Example of an effective figure from a scientific review article about breast cancer risk assessment. The figure provides a risk assessment algorithm for breast cancer. Reprinted with permission from Kim et al (28).

Example of an effective figure from a scientific review article about breast cancer risk assessment. The figure provides a risk assessment algorithm for breast cancer. Reprinted with permission from Kim et al ( 28 ).

Select a Focused but Broad Enough Topic

A common pitfall is to be too ambitious in scope, resulting in a very time-consuming literature search and superficial coverage of some aspects of the topic. The ideal topic should be focused enough to be manageable but with a large enough body of available research to justify the need for a review article. One article on the topic of scientific reviews suggests that at least 15 to 20 relevant research papers published within the previous five years should be easily identifiable to warrant writing a review article ( 2 ).

Provide a Summary of Main Conclusions in the Abstract

Another common pitfall is to only introduce the topic and provide a roadmap for the article in the abstract. The abstract should also provide a summary of the main conclusions that are being drawn based on the research studies that were included and analyzed in the review article.

Be Objective

The content and key points of the article should be based on the published scientific literature and not biased toward one’s personal opinion.

Avoid Tedious Data Presentation

Extensive lists of statements about the findings of other authors (eg, author A found Z, author B found Y, while author C found X, etc) make it difficult for the reader to understand and follow the article. It is best for the writing to be thematic based on research findings rather than author-centered ( 27 ). Each paragraph in the body should begin with a thesis statement or main point, and the sentences that follow should consist of supporting evidence drawn from the literature. For example, in a scientific review article about artificial intelligence (AI) for screening mammography, one approach would be to write that article A found a higher cancer detection rate, higher efficiency, and a lower false-positive rate with use of the AI algorithm and article B found a similar cancer detection rate and higher efficiency, while article C found a higher cancer detection rate and higher false-positive rate. Rather, a better approach would be to write one or more paragraphs summarizing the literature on cancer detection rates, one or more paragraphs on false-positive rates, and one or more paragraphs on efficiency. The results from one study (eg, article A) need not all be discussed in the same paragraph.

Move from Description (Summary) to Analysis

A common pitfall is to describe and summarize the published literature without providing a critical analysis. The purpose of the narrative or traditional review article is not only to summarize relevant discoveries but also to synthesize the literature, discuss its limitations and implications, and speculate on the future.

Avoid Simplistic Conclusions

The scientific review article’s conclusions should consider the complexity of the topic and the quality of the evidence. When describing a study’s findings, it is best to use language that reflects the quality of the evidence rather than making definitive statements. For example, rather than stating that “The use of preoperative breast MRI leads to a reduction in re-excision rates,” the following comments could be made: “Two single-institution retrospective studies found that preoperative MRI was associated with lower rates of positive surgical margins, which suggests that preoperative MRI may lead to reduced re-excision rates. Larger studies with randomization of patients are needed to validate these findings.”

Budget Time for Researching, Synthesizing, and Writing

The amount of time necessary to write a high-quality scientific review article can easily be underestimated. The process of searching for and synthesizing the scientific literature on a topic can take weeks to months to complete depending on the number of authors involved in this process.

Scientific review articles are common in the medical literature and can serve as definitive references on the topic for other scientists, clinicians, and trainees. The first step in the process of preparing a scientific review article is to select a focused topic. This step is followed by a literature search and critical analysis of the published data. The components of the article include an abstract, introduction, body, and conclusion, with the majority devoted to the body, in which the relevant literature is reviewed in detail. The article should be objective and balanced, with summaries and critical analysis of the available evidence. Budgeting time for researching, synthesizing, and writing; taking advantage of the resources listed in this article and available online; and soliciting feedback from co-authors at various stages of the process (eg, after an outline is created) can help new writers produce high-quality scientific review articles.

The author thanks Susanne L. Loomis (Medical and Scientific Communications, Strategic Communications, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA) for creating Figure 1 in this article.

None declared.

M.B. is a consultant for Lunit (medical AI software company) and an expert panelist for 2nd.MD (a digital health company). She also receives funding from the National Institutes of Health (K08CA241365). M.B. is an associate editor of the Journal of Breast Imaging . As such, she was excluded from the editorial process.

Ketcham CM , Crawford JM. The impact of review articles . Lab Invest 2007 ; 87 ( 12 ): 1174 – 1185 .

Google Scholar

Dhillon P. How to write a good scientific review article . FEBS J 2022 ; 289 ( 13 ): 3592 – 3602 .

Pautasso M. Ten simple rules for writing a literature review . PLoS Comput Biol 2013 ; 9 ( 7 ): e1003149 . doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003149 .

Gregory AT , Denniss AR. An introduction to writing narrative and systematic reviews—tasks, tips and traps for aspiring authors . Heart Lung Circ 2018 ; 27 ( 7 ): 893 – 898 .

Heacock L , Reig B , Lewin AA , Toth HK , Moy L , Lee CS. Abbreviated breast MRI: road to clinical implementation . J Breast Imag 2020 ; 2 ( 3 ): 201 – 214 .

Neal CH. Screening breast MRI and gadolinium deposition: cause for concern ? J Breast Imag 2022 ; 4 ( 1 ): 10 – 18 .

Morris EA , Comstock CE , Lee CH , et al.  ACR BI-RADS ® Magnetic Resonance Imaging . In: ACR BI-RADS ® Atlas, Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System . Reston, VA : American College of Radiology ; 2013 .

Google Preview

Nguyen DL , Myers KS , Oluyemi E , et al.  BI-RADS 3 assessment on MRI: a lesion-based review for breast radiologists . J Breast Imag 2022 ; 4 ( 5 ): 460 – 473 .

Vong S , Ronco AJ , Najafpour E , Aminololama-Shakeri S. Screening breast MRI and the science of premenopausal background parenchymal enhancement . J Breast Imag 2021 ; 3 ( 4 ): 407 – 415 .

Bahl M. Screening MRI in women at intermediate breast cancer risk: an update of the recent literature . J Breast Imag 2022 ; 4 ( 3 ): 231 – 240 .

National Library of Medicine . PubMed . Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ . Accessed October 5, 2022 .

Elsevier . Scopus . Available at: https://www.elsevier.com/solutions/scopus/ . Accessed October 5, 2022 .

Clarivate . Web of Science . Available at: https://clarivate.com/webofsciencegroup/solutions/web-of-science/ . Accessed October 5, 2022 .

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Management . NIH Library . Available at: https://www.nihlibrary.nih.gov/services/systematic-review-service/literature-search-databases-and-gray-literature/ . Accessed October 5, 2022 .

Vidal EIO , Fukushima FB. The art and science of writing a scientific review article . Cad Saude Publica 2021 ; 37 ( 4 ): e00063121 . doi: 10.1590/0102-311X00063121 .

Baethge C , Goldbeck-Wood S , Mertens S. SANRA—a scale for the quality assessment of narrative review articles . Res Integr Peer Rev 2019 ; 4 : 5 . doi: 10.1186/s41073-019-0064-8 .

Sanders DA. How to write (and how not to write) a scientific review article . Clin Biochem 2020 ; 81 : 65 – 68 .

Lingard L , Colquhoun H. The story behind the synthesis: writing an effective introduction to your scoping review . Perspect Med Educ 2022 ; 11 ( 5 ): 289 – 294 .

Murphy CM. Writing an effective review article . J Med Toxicol 2012 ; 8 ( 2 ): 89 – 90 .

The University of Manchester Academic Phrasebank . Being critical. Available at: https://www.phrasebank.manchester.ac.uk/being-critical/ . Accessed October 5, 2022 .

Clarivate . EndNote . Available at: https://endnote.com/ . Accessed October 5, 2022 .

Mendeley . Getting started with Mendeley Desktop . Available at: https://www.mendeley.com/guides/desktop/ . Accessed October 5, 2022 .

Paperpile . Available at: https://paperpile.com/ . Accessed October 5, 2022 .

RefWorks . Available at: https://www.refworks.com/refworks2/ . Accessed October 5, 2022 .

Zotero . Available at: https://www.zotero.org/ . Accessed October 5, 2022 .

Grimm LJ , Harvey JA. Practical steps to writing a scientific manuscript . J Breast Imag 2022 ; 4 ( 6 ): 640 – 648 .

Gasparyan AY , Ayvazyan L , Blackmore H , Kitas GD. Writing a narrative biomedical review: considerations for authors, peer reviewers, and editors . Rheumatol Int 2011 ; 31 ( 11 ): 1409 – 1417 .

Kim G , Bahl M. Assessing risk of breast cancer: a review of risk prediction models . J Breast Imag 2021 ; 3 ( 2 ): 144 – 155 .

Email alerts

Citing articles via.

  • Recommend to your Librarian
  • Journals Career Network


  • Online ISSN 2631-6129
  • Print ISSN 2631-6110
  • Copyright © 2023 Society of Breast Imaging
  • About Oxford Academic
  • Publish journals with us
  • University press partners
  • What we publish
  • New features  
  • Open access
  • Institutional account management
  • Rights and permissions
  • Get help with access
  • Accessibility
  • Advertising
  • Media enquiries
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford Languages
  • University of Oxford

Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide

  • Copyright © 2023 Oxford University Press
  • Cookie settings
  • Cookie policy
  • Privacy policy
  • Legal notice

This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

This PDF is available to Subscribers Only

For full access to this pdf, sign in to an existing account, or purchase an annual subscription.

TUS Logo

Literature Review Guide: Examples of Literature Reviews

  • What is a Literature Review?
  • How to start?
  • Search strategies and Databases
  • Examples of Literature Reviews
  • How to organise the review
  • Library summary
  • Emerald Infographic

All good quality journal articles will include a small Literature Review after the Introduction paragraph.  It may not be called a Literature Review but gives you an idea of how one is created in miniature.

Sample Literature Reviews as part of a articles or Theses

  • Building Customer Loyalty: A Customer Experience Based Approach in a Tourism Context
  • Sample Literature Review on Critical Thinking (Gwendolyn Reece, American University Library)
  • Hackett, G and Melia, D . The hotel as the holiday/stay destination:trends and innovations. Presented at TRIC Conference, Belfast, Ireland- June 2012 and EuroCHRIE Conference

Links to sample Literature Reviews from other libraries

  • Sample literature reviews from University of West Florida

Standalone Literature Reviews

  • Attitudes towards the Disability in Ireland
  • Martin, A., O'Connor-Fenelon, M. and Lyons, R. (2010). Non-verbal communication between nurses and people with an intellectual disability: A review of the literature. Journal of Intellectual Diabilities, 14(4), 303-314.

Irish Theses

  • Phillips, Martin (2015) European airline performance: a data envelopment analysis with extrapolations based on model outputs. Master of Business Studies thesis, Dublin City University.
  • The customers’ perception of servicescape’s influence on their behaviours, in the food retail industry : Dublin Business School 2015
  • Coughlan, Ray (2015) What was the role of leadership in the transformation of a failing Irish Insurance business. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.
  • << Previous: Search strategies and Databases
  • Next: Tutorials >>
  • Last Updated: Oct 19, 2023 3:45 PM
  • URL: https://ait.libguides.com/literaturereview

literature review article format

How to Write a Literature Review

literature review article format

As every student knows, writing informative essay and research papers is an integral part of the educational program. You create a thesis, support it using valid sources, and formulate systematic ideas surrounding it. However, not all students know that they will also have to face another type of paper known as a Literature Review in college. Let's take a closer look at this with our custom essay writer .

Literature Review Definition

As this is a less common academic writing type, students often ask: "What is a literature review?" According to the definition, a literature review is a body of work that explores various publications within a specific subject area and sometimes within a set timeframe.

This type of writing requires you to read and analyze various sources that relate to the main subject and present each unique comprehension of the publications. Lastly, a literature review should combine a summary with a synthesis of the documents used. A summary is a brief overview of the important information in the publication; a synthesis is a re-organization of the information that gives the writing a new and unique meaning.

Typically, a literature review is a part of a larger paper, such as a thesis or dissertation. However, you may also be given it as a stand-alone assignment.

The Purpose

The main purpose of a literature review is to summarize and synthesize the ideas created by previous authors without implementing personal opinions or other additional information.

However, a literature review objective is not just to list summaries of sources; rather, it is to notice a central trend or principle in all of the publications. Just like a research paper has a thesis that guides it on rails, a literature review has the main organizing principle (MOP). The goal of this type of academic writing is to identify the MOP and show how it exists in all of your supporting documents.

Why is a literature review important? The value of such work is explained by the following goals it pursues:

  • Highlights the significance of the main topic within a specific subject area.
  • Demonstrates and explains the background of research for a particular subject matter.
  • Helps to find out the key themes, principles, concepts, and researchers that exist within a topic.
  • Helps to reveal relationships between existing ideas/studies on a topic.
  • Reveals the main points of controversy and gaps within a topic.
  • Suggests questions to drive primary research based on previous studies.

Here are some example topics for writing literature reviews:

  • Exploring racism in "To Kill a Mockingbird," "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," and "Uncle Tom's Cabin."
  • Isolationism in "The Catcher in the Rye," "Frankenstein," and "1984"
  • Understanding Moral Dilemmas in "Crime and Punishment," "The Scarlet Letter," and "The Lifeboat"
  • Corruption of Power in "Macbeth," "All the King's Men," and "Animal Farm"
  • Emotional and Physical survival in "Lord of the Flies," "Hatchet," and "Congo."

How Long Is a Literature Review?

When facing the need to write a literature review, students tend to wonder, "how long should a literature review be?" In some cases, the length of your paper's body may be determined by your instructor. Be sure to read the guidelines carefully to learn what is expected from you.

Keeping your literature review around 15-30% of your entire paper is recommended if you haven't been provided with specific guidelines. To give you a rough idea, that is about 2-3 pages for a 15-page paper. In case you are writing a literature review as a stand-alone assignment, its length should be specified in the instructions provided.

Literature Review Format: APA, MLA, and Chicago

The essay format you use should adhere to the citation style preferred by your instructor. Seek clarification from your instructor for several other components as well to establish a desired literature review format:

  • How many sources should you review, and what kind of sources should they be (published materials, journal articles, or websites)?
  • What format should you use to cite the sources?
  • How long should the review be?
  • Should your review consist of a summary, synthesis, or a personal critique?
  • Should your review include subheadings or background information for your sources?

If you want to format your paper in APA style, then follow these rules:

  • Use 1-inch page margins.
  • Unless provided with other instructions, use double-spacing throughout the whole text.
  • Make sure you choose a readable font. The preferred font for APA papers is Times New Roman set to 12-point size.
  • Include a header at the top of every page (in capital letters). The page header must be a shortened version of your essay title and limited to 50 characters, including spacing and punctuation.
  • Put page numbers in the upper right corner of every page.
  • When shaping your literature review outline in APA, don't forget to include a title page. This page should include the paper's name, the author's name, and the institutional affiliation. Your title must be typed with upper and lowercase letters and centered in the upper part of the page; use no more than 12 words, and avoid using abbreviations and useless words.

For MLA style text, apply the following guidelines:

  • Double your spacing across the entire paper.
  • Set ½-inch indents for each new paragraph.
  • The preferred font for MLA papers is Times New Roman set to 12-point size.
  • Include a header at the top of your paper's first page or on the title page (note that MLA style does not require you to have a title page, but you are allowed to decide to include one). A header in this format should include your full name; the name of your instructor; the name of the class, course, or section number; and the due date of the assignment.
  • Include a running head in the top right corner of each page in your paper. Place it one inch from the page's right margin and half an inch from the top margin. Only include your last name and the page number separated by a space in the running head. Do not put the abbreviation p. before page numbers.

Finally, if you are required to write a literature review in Chicago style, here are the key rules to follow:

  • Set page margins to no less than 1 inch.
  • Use double spacing across the entire text, except when it comes to table titles, figure captions, notes, blockquotes, and entries within the bibliography or References.
  • Do not put spaces between paragraphs.
  • Make sure you choose a clear and easily-readable font. The preferred fonts for Chicago papers are Times New Roman and Courier, set to no less than 10-point size, but preferably to 12-point size.
  • A cover (title) page should include your full name, class information, and the date. Center the cover page and place it one-third below the top of the page.
  • Place page numbers in the upper right corner of each page, including the cover page.

Read also about harvard format - popular style used in papers.

Structure of a Literature Review

How to structure a literature review: Like many other types of academic writing, a literature review follows a typical intro-body-conclusion style with 5 paragraphs overall. Now, let’s look at each component of the basic literature review structure in detail:

Structure of a Literature Review

  • Introduction

You should direct your reader(s) towards the MOP (main organizing principle). This means that your information must start from a broad perspective and gradually narrow down until it reaches your focal point.

Start by presenting your general concept (Corruption, for example). After the initial presentation, narrow your introduction's focus towards the MOP by mentioning the criteria you used to select the literature sources you have chosen (Macbeth, All the King's Men, and Animal Farm). Finally, the introduction will end with the presentation of your MOP that should directly link it to all three literature sources.

Body Paragraphs

Generally, each body paragraph will focus on a specific source of literature laid out in the essay's introduction. As each source has its own frame of reference for the MOP, it is crucial to structure the review in the most logically consistent way possible. This means the writing should be structured chronologically, thematically or methodologically.


Breaking down your sources based on their publication date is a solid way to keep a correct historical timeline. If applied properly, it can present the development of a certain concept over time and provide examples in the form of literature. However, sometimes there are better alternatives we can use to structure the body.


Instead of taking the "timeline approach," another option can be looking at the link between your MOP and your sources. Sometimes, the main idea will just glare from a piece of literature. Other times, the author may have to seek examples to prove their point. An experienced writer will usually present their sources by order of strength. For example, in "To Kill A Mockingbird," the entire novel was centralized around racism; in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," racism was one of many themes.


As made obvious by the terminology, this type of structuring focuses on the methods used to present the central concept. For example, in "1984", George Orwell uses the law-and-order approach and shows the dangers of a dystopia for a social species.

In "Frankenstein," Mary Shelley exposes the character's physical traits as repulsive and horrifying, forcing him to suffer in an isolated environment. By showcasing the various methods used to portray the MOP, the writer can compare them based on things like severity, ethicality, and overall impact.

After presenting your key findings in the body paragraphs, there are 3 final objectives to complete in the essay's conclusion. First, the author should summarize the findings they have made or found, in other words, and briefly answer the question: "What have you learned?"

After discussing that information, the next step is to present the significance of the information about our current world today. In other words, how can the reader take the information and apply it to today's society? From that point, we finish off with a breadcrumb trail.

As the author, you want to leave the readers' trail of thought within the actual essay topic. This provides them with a means of further investigation—meaning that the reader may consider where the discussion will go next.

Writing an Outline for a Literature Review

Students often underestimate the importance of planning the structure of their papers in advance. However, this is not a wise approach. Having a rough APA literature review outline (or other style outlines) will not only help you follow the right format and structure but will also make the writing process simpler and help ensure that you include all of the important information without missing anything.

How to write a literature review outline: As you already know from the Structure section of this guide, every part of your literature review performs its own important role. Therefore, you should create your outline while keeping the general introduction-body-conclusion structure in mind and ensuring that each section meets its own objectives. However, it is important to remember that a literature review outline is slightly different from outlines of other types of essays because it does not provide new information. Instead, it focuses on existing studies relevant to the main topic. ‍

Here is a literature review outline example on the subject of the Ebola virus to help you get it right:

  • Introduce the general topic. Provide background information on the Ebola virus: genome, pathogenesis, transmission, epidemiology, treatment, etc.
  • Shape the main research question: What is the potential role of arthropods (mechanical or biological vectors) in the distribution of the Ebola virus?
  • Methodology: For example, the information was searched through X databases to find relevant research articles about the Ebola virus and arthropods' role in its spreading. The data was extracted using a standardized form.
  • Expected outcomes
  • Overall trends in the literature on this topic: While the natural reservoir of the virus is still not known with certainty, many researchers believe that arthropods (and fruit bats, in particular) pay a significant role in the distribution of the virus.
  • Subject 1: A brief overview of the particular piece of literature in general terms; an analysis of the key aspects of the study; a review of the research questions, methods, procedures, and outcomes; and an overview of the strong and weak points, gaps, and contradictions.
  • Subject 2: A brief overview of the particular piece of literature in general terms; an analysis of the key aspects of the study; a review of the research questions, methods, procedures, and outcomes; and an overview of the strong and weak points, gaps, and contradictions.
  • Subject 3:  A brief overview of the particular piece of literature in general terms; an analysis of the key aspects of the study; a review of the research questions, methods, procedures, and outcomes; and an overview of the strong and weak points, gaps, and contradictions.
  • Indicate the relationships between the pieces of literature discussed. Emphasize key themes, common patterns, and trends. Talk about the pros and cons of the different approaches taken by the authors/researchers.
  • State which studies seem to be the most influential.
  • Emphasize the major contradictions and points of disagreement. Define the gaps still to be covered (if any).
  • If applicable: define how your own study will contribute to further disclosure of the topic.

Hopefully, this sample outline will help you to structure your own paper. However, if you feel like you need some more advice on how to organize your review, don’t hesitate to search for more literature review outline examples in APA or other styles on the Web, or simply ask our writers to get a dissertation help .


Count on Pro to get it done! We will make your literature or political science essay , we only need your paper requirements to save your precious time and nerves from writing it on your own!

How to Write a Good Literature Review

Whether you are writing a literature review within the framework of a large research project (e.g. thesis, dissertation, or other) or as a stand-alone assignment, the approach you should take to writing generally remains the same.

literature review article format

Whether you are writing a literature review within the framework of a large research project (e.g., thesis, dissertation, or other) or as a stand-alone assignment, the approach you should take to writing generally remains the same.

Now, as you know about the general rules and have a basic literature review outline template, let's define the steps to take to handle this task right with our service:

Step 1: Identifying the Topic

This is probably the only matter you may approach differently depending on whether your literature review comes within a research paper or a separate assignment altogether. If you are creating a literature review as a part of another work, you need to search for literature related to your main research questions and problems. Respectively, if you are writing it as a stand-alone task, you will have to pick a relevant topic and central question upon which you will collect the literature. Earlier in this guide, we suggested some engaging topics to guide your search.

Step 2: Conducting Research

When you have a clearly defined topic, it is time to start collecting literature for your review. We recommend starting by compiling a list of relevant keywords related to your central question—to make the entire research process much simpler and help you find relevant publications faster.

When you have a list of keywords, use them to search for valid and relevant sources. At this point, be sure to use only trusted sources, such as ones from university libraries, online scientific databases, etc.

Once you have found some sources, be sure to define whether or not they are actually relevant to your topic and research question. To save time, you can read abstracts to get general ideas of what the papers are about instead of the whole thing.

Pro Tip: When you finally find a few valid publications, take a look at their bibliographies to discover other relevant sources as well.

Step 3: Assess and Prioritize Sources

Throughout your research, you will likely find plenty of relevant literature to include in your literature review. At this point, students often make the mistake of trying to fit all the collected sources into their reviews. Instead, we suggest looking at what you've collected once more, evaluating the available sources, and selecting the most relevant ones. You most likely won't be able to read everything you find on a given topic and then be able to synthesize all of the sources into a single literature review. That's why prioritizing them is important.

To evaluate which sources are worth including in your review, keep in mind the following criteria:

  • Credibility;
  • Innovation;
  • Key insights;

Furthermore, as you read the sources, don’t forget to take notes on everything you can incorporate into the review later. And be sure to get your citations in place early on. If you cite the selected sources at the initial stage, you will find it easier to create your annotated bibliography later on.

Step 4: Identify Relationships, Key Ideas, and Gaps

Before you can move on to outlining and writing your literature review, the final step is determining the relationships between the studies that already exist. Identifying the relationships will help you organize the existing knowledge, build a solid literature outline, and (if necessary) indicate your own research contribution to a specific field.

Some of the key points to keep an eye out for are:

  • Main themes;
  • Contradictions and debates;
  • Influential studies or theories;
  • Trends and patterns;

Here are a few examples: Common trends may include a focus on specific groups of people across different studies. Most researchers may have increased interest in certain aspects of the topic regarding key themes. Contradictions may include some disagreement concerning the theories and outcomes of a study. And finally, gaps most often refer to a lack of research on certain aspects of a topic.

Step 5: Make an Outline

Although students tend to neglect this stage, outlining is one of the most important steps in writing every academic paper. This is the easiest way to organize the body of your text and ensure that you haven't missed anything important. Besides, having a rough idea of what you will write about in the paper will help you get it right faster and more easily. Earlier in this guide, we already discussed the basic structure of a literature review and gave you an example of a good outline. At this workflow stage, you can use all of the knowledge you've gained from us to build your own outline.

Step 6: Move on to Writing

Having found and created all of your sources, notes, citations, and a detailed outline, you can finally get to the writing part of the process. At this stage, all you need to do is follow the plan you've created and keep in mind the overall structure and format defined in your professor's instructions.

Step 7: Adding the Final Touches

Most students make a common mistake and skip the final stage of the process, which includes proofreading and editing. We recommend taking enough time for these steps to ensure that your work will be worth the highest score. Do not underestimate the importance of proofreading and editing, and allocate enough time for these steps.

Pro Tip: Before moving on to proofreading and editing, be sure to set your literature review aside for a day or two. This will give you a chance to take your mind off it and then get back to proofreading with a fresh perspective. This tip will ensure that you won't miss out on any gaps or errors that might be present in your text.

These steps will help you create a top-notch literature review with ease! Want to get more advice on how to handle this body of work? Here are the top 3 tips you need to keep in mind when writing a literature review:

1. Good Sources

When working on a literature review, the most important thing any writer should remember is to find the best possible sources for their MOP. This means that you should select and filter through about 5-10 different options while doing initial research.

The stronger a piece of literature showcases the central point, the better the quality of the entire review.

2. Synthesize The Literature

Make sure to structure the review in the most effective way possible, whether it be chronologically, thematically, or methodologically. Understand what exactly you would like to say, and structure the source comparison accordingly.

3. Avoid Generalizations

Remember that each piece of literature will approach the MOP from a different angle. As the author, make sure to present the contrasts in approaches clearly and don't include general statements that offer no value.

Literature Review Examples

You can find two well-written literature reviews by the EssayPro writing team below. They will help you understand what the final product of a literature review should ideally look like.

The first literature review compares monolingual and bilingual language acquisition skills and uses various sources to prove its point:

The second literature review compares the impact of fear and pain on a protagonist’s overall development in various settings:

Both reviews will help you sharpen your skills and provide good guidelines for writing high-quality papers.

Get Help from an Essay Writer

Still aren’t sure whether you can handle literature review writing on your own? No worries because you can pay for essay writing and our service has got you covered! Boost your grades is to place an order in a few quick clicks and we will satisfy your write my paper request.

Related Articles

research paper outline

U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

The .gov means it’s official. Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.

The site is secure. The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

  • Publications
  • Account settings
  • Advanced Search
  • Journal List
  • Turk J Urol
  • v.39(Suppl 1); 2013 Sep

How to write a review article?

In the medical sciences, the importance of review articles is rising. When clinicians want to update their knowledge and generate guidelines about a topic, they frequently use reviews as a starting point. The value of a review is associated with what has been done, what has been found and how these findings are presented. Before asking ‘how,’ the question of ‘why’ is more important when starting to write a review. The main and fundamental purpose of writing a review is to create a readable synthesis of the best resources available in the literature for an important research question or a current area of research. Although the idea of writing a review is attractive, it is important to spend time identifying the important questions. Good review methods are critical because they provide an unbiased point of view for the reader regarding the current literature. There is a consensus that a review should be written in a systematic fashion, a notion that is usually followed. In a systematic review with a focused question, the research methods must be clearly described. A ‘methodological filter’ is the best method for identifying the best working style for a research question, and this method reduces the workload when surveying the literature. An essential part of the review process is differentiating good research from bad and leaning on the results of the better studies. The ideal way to synthesize studies is to perform a meta-analysis. In conclusion, when writing a review, it is best to clearly focus on fixed ideas, to use a procedural and critical approach to the literature and to express your findings in an attractive way.

The importance of review articles in health sciences is increasing day by day. Clinicians frequently benefit from review articles to update their knowledge in their field of specialization, and use these articles as a starting point for formulating guidelines. [ 1 , 2 ] The institutions which provide financial support for further investigations resort to these reviews to reveal the need for these researches. [ 3 ] As is the case with all other researches, the value of a review article is related to what is achieved, what is found, and the way of communicating this information. A few studies have evaluated the quality of review articles. Murlow evaluated 50 review articles published in 1985, and 1986, and revealed that none of them had complied with clear-cut scientific criteria. [ 4 ] In 1996 an international group that analyzed articles, demonstrated the aspects of review articles, and meta-analyses that had not complied with scientific criteria, and elaborated QUOROM (QUality Of Reporting Of Meta-analyses) statement which focused on meta-analyses of randomized controlled studies. [ 5 ] Later on this guideline was updated, and named as PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses). [ 6 ]

Review articles are divided into 2 categories as narrative, and systematic reviews. Narrative reviews are written in an easily readable format, and allow consideration of the subject matter within a large spectrum. However in a systematic review, a very detailed, and comprehensive literature surveying is performed on the selected topic. [ 7 , 8 ] Since it is a result of a more detailed literature surveying with relatively lesser involvement of author’s bias, systematic reviews are considered as gold standard articles. Systematic reviews can be diivded into qualitative, and quantitative reviews. In both of them detailed literature surveying is performed. However in quantitative reviews, study data are collected, and statistically evaluated (ie. meta-analysis). [ 8 ]

Before inquring for the method of preparation of a review article, it is more logical to investigate the motivation behind writing the review article in question. The fundamental rationale of writing a review article is to make a readable synthesis of the best literature sources on an important research inquiry or a topic. This simple definition of a review article contains the following key elements:

  • The question(s) to be dealt with
  • Methods used to find out, and select the best quality researches so as to respond to these questions.
  • To synthetize available, but quite different researches

For the specification of important questions to be answered, number of literature references to be consulted should be more or less determined. Discussions should be conducted with colleagues in the same area of interest, and time should be reserved for the solution of the problem(s). Though starting to write the review article promptly seems to be very alluring, the time you spend for the determination of important issues won’t be a waste of time. [ 9 ]

The PRISMA statement [ 6 ] elaborated to write a well-designed review articles contains a 27-item checklist ( Table 1 ). It will be reasonable to fulfill the requirements of these items during preparation of a review article or a meta-analysis. Thus preparation of a comprehensible article with a high-quality scientific content can be feasible.

PRISMA statement: A 27-item checklist

Contents and format

Important differences exist between systematic, and non-systematic reviews which especially arise from methodologies used in the description of the literature sources. A non-systematic review means use of articles collected for years with the recommendations of your colleagues, while systematic review is based on struggles to search for, and find the best possible researches which will respond to the questions predetermined at the start of the review.

Though a consensus has been reached about the systematic design of the review articles, studies revealed that most of them had not been written in a systematic format. McAlister et al. analyzed review articles in 6 medical journals, and disclosed that in less than one fourth of the review articles, methods of description, evaluation or synthesis of evidence had been provided, one third of them had focused on a clinical topic, and only half of them had provided quantitative data about the extend of the potential benefits. [ 10 ]

Use of proper methodologies in review articles is important in that readers assume an objective attitude towards updated information. We can confront two problems while we are using data from researches in order to answer certain questions. Firstly, we can be prejudiced during selection of research articles or these articles might be biased. To minimize this risk, methodologies used in our reviews should allow us to define, and use researches with minimal degree of bias. The second problem is that, most of the researches have been performed with small sample sizes. In statistical methods in meta-analyses, available researches are combined to increase the statistical power of the study. The problematic aspect of a non-systematic review is that our tendency to give biased responses to the questions, in other words we apt to select the studies with known or favourite results, rather than the best quality investigations among them.

As is the case with many research articles, general format of a systematic review on a single subject includes sections of Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion ( Table 2 ).

Structure of a systematic review

Preparation of the review article

Steps, and targets of constructing a good review article are listed in Table 3 . To write a good review article the items in Table 3 should be implemented step by step. [ 11 – 13 ]

Steps of a systematic review

The research question

It might be helpful to divide the research question into components. The most prevalently used format for questions related to the treatment is PICO (P - Patient, Problem or Population; I-Intervention; C-appropriate Comparisons, and O-Outcome measures) procedure. For example In female patients (P) with stress urinary incontinence, comparisons (C) between transobturator, and retropubic midurethral tension-free band surgery (I) as for patients’ satisfaction (O).

Finding Studies

In a systematic review on a focused question, methods of investigation used should be clearly specified.

Ideally, research methods, investigated databases, and key words should be described in the final report. Different databases are used dependent on the topic analyzed. In most of the clinical topics, Medline should be surveyed. However searching through Embase and CINAHL can be also appropriate.

While determining appropriate terms for surveying, PICO elements of the issue to be sought may guide the process. Since in general we are interested in more than one outcome, P, and I can be key elements. In this case we should think about synonyms of P, and I elements, and combine them with a conjunction AND.

One method which might alleviate the workload of surveying process is “methodological filter” which aims to find the best investigation method for each research question. A good example of this method can be found in PubMed interface of Medline. The Clinical Queries tool offers empirically developed filters for five different inquiries as guidelines for etiology, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis or clinical prediction.

Evaluation of the Quality of the Study

As an indispensable component of the review process is to discriminate good, and bad quality researches from each other, and the outcomes should be based on better qualified researches, as far as possible. To achieve this goal you should know the best possible evidence for each type of question The first component of the quality is its general planning/design of the study. General planning/design of a cohort study, a case series or normal study demonstrates variations.

A hierarchy of evidence for different research questions is presented in Table 4 . However this hierarchy is only a first step. After you find good quality research articles, you won’t need to read all the rest of other articles which saves you tons of time. [ 14 ]

Determination of levels of evidence based on the type of the research question

Formulating a Synthesis

Rarely all researches arrive at the same conclusion. In this case a solution should be found. However it is risky to make a decision based on the votes of absolute majority. Indeed, a well-performed large scale study, and a weakly designed one are weighed on the same scale. Therefore, ideally a meta-analysis should be performed to solve apparent differences. Ideally, first of all, one should be focused on the largest, and higher quality study, then other studies should be compared with this basic study.


In conclusion, during writing process of a review article, the procedures to be achieved can be indicated as follows: 1) Get rid of fixed ideas, and obsessions from your head, and view the subject from a large perspective. 2) Research articles in the literature should be approached with a methodological, and critical attitude and 3) finally data should be explained in an attractive way.

The Tech Edvocate

  • Advertisement
  • Home Page Five (No Sidebar)
  • Home Page Four
  • Home Page Three
  • Home Page Two
  • Icons [No Sidebar]
  • Left Sidbear Page
  • Lynch Educational Consulting
  • My Speaking Page
  • Newsletter Sign Up Confirmation
  • Newsletter Unsubscription
  • Page Example
  • Privacy Policy
  • Protected Content
  • Request a Product Review
  • Shortcodes Examples
  • Terms and Conditions
  • The Edvocate
  • The Tech Edvocate Product Guide
  • Write For Us
  • Dr. Lynch’s Personal Website
  • The Edvocate Podcast
  • Assistive Technology
  • Child Development Tech
  • Early Childhood & K-12 EdTech
  • EdTech Futures
  • EdTech News
  • EdTech Policy & Reform
  • EdTech Startups & Businesses
  • Higher Education EdTech
  • Online Learning & eLearning
  • Parent & Family Tech
  • Personalized Learning
  • Product Reviews
  • Tech Edvocate Awards
  • School Ratings

Instructional Design 101 For Beginners

How to make getting into college easier, why the dimo autopi is the perfect holiday gift, what part do grades play in college admissions, questions that high school students have about college admissions, 3 ways to make warhammer terrain, 3 ways to brainstorm alone, 3 ways to memorize a speech in one night, how to bake a steak, how to find your spirit animal: 12 steps, how to write an article review (with sample reviews)  .

literature review article format

An article review is a critical evaluation of a scholarly or scientific piece, which aims to summarize its main ideas, assess its contributions, and provide constructive feedback. A well-written review not only benefits the author of the article under scrutiny but also serves as a valuable resource for fellow researchers and scholars. Follow these steps to create an effective and informative article review:

1. Understand the purpose: Before diving into the article, it is important to understand the intent of writing a review. This helps in focusing your thoughts, directing your analysis, and ensuring your review adds value to the academic community.

2. Read the article thoroughly: Carefully read the article multiple times to get a complete understanding of its content, arguments, and conclusions. As you read, take notes on key points, supporting evidence, and any areas that require further exploration or clarification.

3. Summarize the main ideas: In your review’s introduction, briefly outline the primary themes and arguments presented by the author(s). Keep it concise but sufficiently informative so that readers can quickly grasp the essence of the article.

4. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses: In subsequent paragraphs, assess the strengths and limitations of the article based on factors such as methodology, quality of evidence presented, coherence of arguments, and alignment with existing literature in the field. Be fair and objective while providing your critique.

5. Discuss any implications: Deliberate on how this particular piece contributes to or challenges existing knowledge in its discipline. You may also discuss potential improvements for future research or explore real-world applications stemming from this study.

6. Provide recommendations: Finally, offer suggestions for both the author(s) and readers regarding how they can further build on this work or apply its findings in practice.

7. Proofread and revise: Once your initial draft is complete, go through it carefully for clarity, accuracy, and coherence. Revise as necessary, ensuring your review is both informative and engaging for readers.

Sample Review:

A Critical Review of “The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health”


“The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health” is a timely article which investigates the relationship between social media usage and psychological well-being. The authors present compelling evidence to support their argument that excessive use of social media can result in decreased self-esteem, increased anxiety, and a negative impact on interpersonal relationships.

Strengths and weaknesses:

One of the strengths of this article lies in its well-structured methodology utilizing a variety of sources, including quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews. This approach provides a comprehensive view of the topic, allowing for a more nuanced understanding of the effects of social media on mental health. However, it would have been beneficial if the authors included a larger sample size to increase the reliability of their conclusions. Additionally, exploring how different platforms may influence mental health differently could have added depth to the analysis.


The findings in this article contribute significantly to ongoing debates surrounding the psychological implications of social media use. It highlights the potential dangers that excessive engagement with online platforms may pose to one’s mental well-being and encourages further research into interventions that could mitigate these risks. The study also offers an opportunity for educators and policy-makers to take note and develop strategies to foster healthier online behavior.


Future researchers should consider investigating how specific social media platforms impact mental health outcomes, as this could lead to more targeted interventions. For practitioners, implementing educational programs aimed at promoting healthy online habits may be beneficial in mitigating the potential negative consequences associated with excessive social media use.


Overall, “The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health” is an important and informative piece that raises awareness about a pressing issue in today’s digital age. Given its minor limitations, it provides valuable

3 Ways to Make a Mini Greenhouse ...

3 ways to teach yourself to play ....

' src=

Matthew Lynch

Related articles more from author.

literature review article format

3 Ways to Clean a Marble Top Table

literature review article format

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds: 14 Steps

literature review article format

How to Build a Snow Cave

literature review article format

3 Ways to Make White Smoke

literature review article format

4 Ways to Stop Coughing Using Home and Natural Remedies

literature review article format

How to Save Files to a USB Flash Drive

helpfulprofessor.com site logo that links to homepage

15 Literature Review Examples

literature review examples, types, and definition, explained below

Literature reviews are a necessary step in a research process and often required when writing your research proposal . They involve gathering, analyzing, and evaluating existing knowledge about a topic in order to find gaps in the literature where future studies will be needed.

Ideally, once you have completed your literature review, you will be able to identify how your research project can build upon and extend existing knowledge in your area of study.

Generally, for my undergraduate research students, I recommend a narrative review, where themes can be generated in order for the students to develop sufficient understanding of the topic so they can build upon the themes using unique methods or novel research questions.

For more advanced students and scholars, literature reviews like systematic and meta-analyses may be more fitting, especially if the review is not to identify potential areas of research but to present practical and clinical recommendations based directly upon a reading of the literature.

Literature Review Examples

For the following types of literature review, I present an explanation and overview of the type, followed by links to some real-life literature reviews on the topics.

1. Narrative Review Examples

Also known as a traditional literature review, the narrative review provides a broad overview of the studies done on a particular topic.

It often includes both qualitative and quantitative studies and may cover a wide range of years.

The narrative review’s purpose is to identify commonalities, gaps, and contradictions in the literature .

I recommend to my students that they should gather their studies together, take notes on each study, then try to group them by themes that form the basis for the review (see my step-by-step instructions at the end of the article).

Example Study

Title: Communication in healthcare: a narrative review of the literature and practical recommendations

Citation: Vermeir, P., Vandijck, D., Degroote, S., Peleman, R., Verhaeghe, R., Mortier, E., … & Vogelaers, D. (2015). Communication in healthcare: a narrative review of the literature and practical recommendations. International journal of clinical practice , 69 (11), 1257-1267.

Source: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/ijcp.12686  

Overview: This narrative review analyzed themes emerging from 69 articles about communication in healthcare contexts. Five key themes were found in the literature: poor communication can lead to various negative outcomes, discontinuity of care, compromise of patient safety, patient dissatisfaction, and inefficient use of resources. After presenting the key themes, the authors recommend that practitioners need to approach healthcare communication in a more structured way, such as by ensuring there is a clear understanding of who is in charge of ensuring effective communication in clinical settings.

Other Examples

  • Burnout in United States Healthcare Professionals: A Narrative Review (Reith, 2018) – read here
  • Examining the Presence, Consequences, and Reduction of Implicit Bias in Health Care: A Narrative Review (Zestcott, Blair & Stone, 2016) – read here
  • A Narrative Review of School-Based Physical Activity for Enhancing Cognition and Learning (Mavilidi et al., 2018) – read here
  • A narrative review on burnout experienced by medical students and residents (Dyrbye & Shanafelt, 2015) – read here

2. Systematic Review Examples

This type of literature review is more structured and rigorous than a narrative review. It involves a detailed and comprehensive plan and search strategy derived from a set of specified research questions.

The key way you’d know a systematic review compared to a narrative review is in the methodology: the systematic review will likely have a very clear criteria for how the studies were collected, and clear explanations of exclusion/inclusion criteria. 

The goal is to gather the maximum amount of valid literature on the topic, filter out invalid or low-quality reviews, and minimize bias. Ideally, this will provide more reliable findings, leading to higher-quality conclusions and recommendations for further research.

You may note from the examples below that the ‘method’ sections in systematic reviews tend to be much more explicit, often noting rigid inclusion/exclusion criteria and exact keywords used in searches.

Title: The importance of food naturalness for consumers: Results of a systematic review  

Citation: Roman, S., Sánchez-Siles, L. M., & Siegrist, M. (2017). The importance of food naturalness for consumers: Results of a systematic review. Trends in food science & technology , 67 , 44-57.

Source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S092422441730122X  

Overview: This systematic review included 72 studies of food naturalness to explore trends in the literature about its importance for consumers. Keywords used in the data search included: food, naturalness, natural content, and natural ingredients. Studies were included if they examined consumers’ preference for food naturalness and contained empirical data. The authors found that the literature lacks clarity about how naturalness is defined and measured, but also found that food consumption is significantly influenced by perceived naturalness of goods.

  • A systematic review of research on online teaching and learning from 2009 to 2018 (Martin, Sun & Westine, 2020) – read here
  • Where Is Current Research on Blockchain Technology? (Yli-Huumo et al., 2016) – read here
  • Universities—industry collaboration: A systematic review (Ankrah & Al-Tabbaa, 2015) – read here
  • Internet of Things Applications: A Systematic Review (Asghari, Rahmani & Javadi, 2019) – read here

3. Meta-analysis

This is a type of systematic review that uses statistical methods to combine and summarize the results of several studies.

Due to its robust methodology, a meta-analysis is often considered the ‘gold standard’ of secondary research , as it provides a more precise estimate of a treatment effect than any individual study contributing to the pooled analysis.

Furthermore, by aggregating data from a range of studies, a meta-analysis can identify patterns, disagreements, or other interesting relationships that may have been hidden in individual studies.

This helps to enhance the generalizability of findings, making the conclusions drawn from a meta-analysis particularly powerful and informative for policy and practice.

Title: Cholesterol and Alzheimer’s Disease Risk: A Meta-Meta-Analysis

Citation: Sáiz-Vazquez, O., Puente-Martínez, A., Ubillos-Landa, S., Pacheco-Bonrostro, J., & Santabárbara, J. (2020). Cholesterol and Alzheimer’s disease risk: a meta-meta-analysis. Brain sciences, 10(6), 386.

Source: https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10060386  

O verview: This study examines the relationship between cholesterol and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Researchers conducted a systematic search of meta-analyses and reviewed several databases, collecting 100 primary studies and five meta-analyses to analyze the connection between cholesterol and Alzheimer’s disease. They find that the literature compellingly demonstrates that low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels significantly influence the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

  • The power of feedback revisited: A meta-analysis of educational feedback research (Wisniewski, Zierer & Hattie, 2020) – read here
  • How Much Does Education Improve Intelligence? A Meta-Analysis (Ritchie & Tucker-Drob, 2018) – read here
  • A meta-analysis of factors related to recycling (Geiger et al., 2019) – read here
  • Stress management interventions for police officers and recruits (Patterson, Chung & Swan, 2014) – read here

Other Types of Reviews

  • Scoping Review: This type of review is used to map the key concepts underpinning a research area and the main sources and types of evidence available. It can be undertaken as stand-alone projects in their own right, or as a precursor to a systematic review.
  • Rapid Review: This type of review accelerates the systematic review process in order to produce information in a timely manner. This is achieved by simplifying or omitting stages of the systematic review process.
  • Integrative Review: This review method is more inclusive than others, allowing for the simultaneous inclusion of experimental and non-experimental research. The goal is to more comprehensively understand a particular phenomenon.
  • Critical Review: This is similar to a narrative review but requires a robust understanding of both the subject and the existing literature. In a critical review, the reviewer not only summarizes the existing literature, but also evaluates its strengths and weaknesses. This is common in the social sciences and humanities .
  • State-of-the-Art Review: This considers the current level of advancement in a field or topic and makes recommendations for future research directions. This type of review is common in technological and scientific fields but can be applied to any discipline.

How to Write a Narrative Review (Tips for Undergrad Students)

Most undergraduate students conducting a capstone research project will be writing narrative reviews. Below is a five-step process for conducting a simple review of the literature for your project.

  • Search for Relevant Literature: Use scholarly databases related to your field of study, provided by your university library, along with appropriate search terms to identify key scholarly articles that have been published on your topic.
  • Evaluate and Select Sources: Filter the source list by selecting studies that are directly relevant and of sufficient quality, considering factors like credibility , objectivity, accuracy, and validity.
  • Analyze and Synthesize: Review each source and summarize the main arguments  in one paragraph (or more, for postgrad). Keep these summaries in a table.
  • Identify Themes: With all studies summarized, group studies that share common themes, such as studies that have similar findings or methodologies.
  • Write the Review: Write your review based upon the themes or subtopics you have identified. Give a thorough overview of each theme, integrating source data, and conclude with a summary of the current state of knowledge then suggestions for future research based upon your evaluation of what is lacking in the literature.

Literature reviews don’t have to be as scary as they seem. Yes, they are difficult and require a strong degree of comprehension of academic studies. But it can be feasibly done through following a structured approach to data collection and analysis. With my undergraduate research students (who tend to conduct small-scale qualitative studies ), I encourage them to conduct a narrative literature review whereby they can identify key themes in the literature. Within each theme, students can critique key studies and their strengths and limitations , in order to get a lay of the land and come to a point where they can identify ways to contribute new insights to the existing academic conversation on their topic.

Ankrah, S., & Omar, A. T. (2015). Universities–industry collaboration: A systematic review. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 31(3), 387-408.

Asghari, P., Rahmani, A. M., & Javadi, H. H. S. (2019). Internet of Things applications: A systematic review. Computer Networks , 148 , 241-261.

Dyrbye, L., & Shanafelt, T. (2016). A narrative review on burnout experienced by medical students and residents. Medical education , 50 (1), 132-149.

Geiger, J. L., Steg, L., Van Der Werff, E., & Ünal, A. B. (2019). A meta-analysis of factors related to recycling. Journal of environmental psychology , 64 , 78-97.

Martin, F., Sun, T., & Westine, C. D. (2020). A systematic review of research on online teaching and learning from 2009 to 2018. Computers & education , 159 , 104009.

Mavilidi, M. F., Ruiter, M., Schmidt, M., Okely, A. D., Loyens, S., Chandler, P., & Paas, F. (2018). A narrative review of school-based physical activity for enhancing cognition and learning: The importance of relevancy and integration. Frontiers in psychology , 2079.

Patterson, G. T., Chung, I. W., & Swan, P. W. (2014). Stress management interventions for police officers and recruits: A meta-analysis. Journal of experimental criminology , 10 , 487-513.

Reith, T. P. (2018). Burnout in United States healthcare professionals: a narrative review. Cureus , 10 (12).

Ritchie, S. J., & Tucker-Drob, E. M. (2018). How much does education improve intelligence? A meta-analysis. Psychological science , 29 (8), 1358-1369.

Roman, S., Sánchez-Siles, L. M., & Siegrist, M. (2017). The importance of food naturalness for consumers: Results of a systematic review. Trends in food science & technology , 67 , 44-57.

Sáiz-Vazquez, O., Puente-Martínez, A., Ubillos-Landa, S., Pacheco-Bonrostro, J., & Santabárbara, J. (2020). Cholesterol and Alzheimer’s disease risk: a meta-meta-analysis. Brain sciences, 10(6), 386.

Vermeir, P., Vandijck, D., Degroote, S., Peleman, R., Verhaeghe, R., Mortier, E., … & Vogelaers, D. (2015). Communication in healthcare: a narrative review of the literature and practical recommendations. International journal of clinical practice , 69 (11), 1257-1267.

Wisniewski, B., Zierer, K., & Hattie, J. (2020). The power of feedback revisited: A meta-analysis of educational feedback research. Frontiers in Psychology , 10 , 3087.

Yli-Huumo, J., Ko, D., Choi, S., Park, S., & Smolander, K. (2016). Where is current research on blockchain technology?—a systematic review. PloS one , 11 (10), e0163477.

Zestcott, C. A., Blair, I. V., & Stone, J. (2016). Examining the presence, consequences, and reduction of implicit bias in health care: a narrative review. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations , 19 (4), 528-542


Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ Montessori vs Reggio Emilia vs Steiner-Waldorf vs Froebel
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 15 Meritocracy Examples
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 21 Types of Teaching Styles
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 5 Best Laminators for Teachers, Reviewed!

Leave a Comment Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Article Review

Barbara P

Article Review - A Complete Writing Guide With Examples

Published on: Feb 17, 2020

Last updated on: Dec 19, 2022

Article Review

People also read

Get Better at Math: Solving Math Problems Quick and Easy

Learn How to Write an Editorial on Any Topic

How to Avoid Plagiarism - Steps to a Plagiarism Free Paper

How to Write a Movie Review - Guide & Examples

How to Write a Summary - Beginner’s Guide & Example

How to Write an Opinion Essay – A Beginner’s Guide

Evaluation Essay - Definition, Examples, and Writing Tips

How to Write a Thematic Statement - Tips & Examples

How to Write a Bio - Quick Tips, Structure & Examples

How to Write a Synopsis – A Simple Format & Guide

How to Write a Comparative Essay – A Research Guide

Visual Analysis Essay Writing Guide - Format & Samples

List of Common Social Issues Around the World

Character Analysis - Outline, Writing Steps, and Examples

What are the Different Types of Plagiarism - Examples

A Detailed Guide on How to Write a Poem Step by Step

A Complete Appendix Writing Guide for Beginners

Share this article

An article review format is a scholarly way to analyze and evaluate the work of other experts in your specific field. Scholars or students mainly use it outside of the education system. But it's typically done for clarity, originality, and how well contributions from this expert have been made to their discipline.

When answering questions about what is an article review and how to write one, you must understand the type of analysis the instructor requires. Continue reading to get a detailed idea of writing a perfect article review in no time.

On This Page On This Page -->

What is an Article Review?

An article review is a writing piece that summarizes and assesses someone else's article. It entails understanding the central theme of the article, supporting arguments, and implications for further research.

A review has specific guidelines and format to write. It can be either a critical review or a literature review. A critical analysis deals with a specific type of text in detail, while a literature review is a broader kind of document.

Moreover, an article review is important because of the following reasons:

  • It helps to clarify questions.
  • It allows you to see other people’s thoughts and perspectives on current issues.
  • It helps you correct the language and sentence structure that does not make sense.
  • After reading different reviews, the writers can get out of personal biases.
  • It further improves the grammar and makes your writing skills better and clearer.
  • Lastly, it helps to provide suggestions or criticism on the article for future research.

Order Essay

Paper Due? Why Suffer? That's our Job

Types of Review

Below are the three main types of article reviews:

1. Journal Article Review

A journal article review is essentially a critique of an academic paper. Here, the author provides his thoughts on both strengths and weaknesses to demonstrate how it fits in with other work and what makes this publication stand out.

Check out the following example to help you understand better.

Example of Journal Article Review

2. Research Article Review

A research article review is different from a journal article review as it evaluates the research methods used in the study. It also compares them to other research studies.

Here is a sample for you to get an idea.

Example of Research Article Review

3. Science Article Review

Science article reviews involve publications in the realm of science. This type of research provides detailed background information so you can understand it in a better way.

Have a look at the below example.

Example of Science Article Review

Article Review Format

The format of your article must follow the citation style required by your professor. If you are not sure, ask him to clarify the following pointers about the preferred format. It will help you format an article review adequately.

  • What format is appropriate to cite your articles? (MLA, APA, ASA, Chicago, etc.)
  • What should be the length of the review?
  • Should it include a summary, critique, or personal opinion?
  • Does the professor require background information?
  • Does it require mentioning a central idea within the article?

After knowing the answers to these questions, you can start writing your article review. Here, we have mentioned the two most commonly used citation styles, APA and MLA.

1. APA Format

An article can appear in academic journals, newspapers, and websites. You need to write bibliographical entries for the sources you use when writing an APA format article review:

  • Web:  Author [last name], A.A [first and middle initial]. (Year, Month, Date of Publication). Title. Retrieved from {link}
  • Journal:  Author [last name], A.A [first and middle initial]. (Publication Year). Publication Title. Periodical Title, Volume(Issue), pp.-pp.
  • Newspaper:  Author [last name], A.A [first and middle initial]. (Year, Month, Date of Publication). Publication Title. Magazine Title, pp. Xx-xx.

2. MLA Format

Here is how you cite your sources in MLA format.

  • Web:  Last, First Middle Initial. “Publication Title.” Website Title. Website Publisher, Date Month Year Published. Web. Date Month Year Accessed.
  • Newspaper:  Last, First M. “Publication Title.” Newspaper Title [City] Date, Month, Year Published: Page(s). Print.
  • Journal:  Last, First M. “Publication Title.” Journal Title Series Volume. Issue (Year Published): Page(s). Database Name. Web. Date Month Year Accessed.

How to Write an Article Review?

Students often find writing an article review for the very first time daunting. Thus, it is best to start with a few preparatory steps.

The following is a complete step-by-step guide to write an effective article review in no time

1. The Pre-Writing Process

First, you need to know the type of review you are writing as it will help while reading an article. Here are some of the main stages of this process to help you get started.

  • Summarize the article by listing all the main points, ideas, insight observations, and general information presented in the article.
  • Identify the strong claims that the author has made.
  • Identify any possible contradictions and gaps in the article and evaluate if the writer has used sufficient arguments and findings to support the ideas.
  • Determine if there are any questions left unanswered by the author.
  • Read the article fully.
  • Evaluate the title, abstract, introduction, headings, subheadings, opening sentences, and conclusion of the article.

After this process, you can begin writing your own review.

2. Write the Title

First, write a title that reflects the main focus of your research work. It can be either interrogative, descriptive, or declarative.

3. Cite the Article

Next, add the citation for the article that you have reviewed. Consider the style of citation specified by your instructor. For example, if you were using MLA style, the citation would look like this:

Author’s last and first name. “The title of the article.” Journal’s title and issue(publication date): page(s). Print

Abraham John. “The World of Dreams.” Virginia Quarterly 60.2(1991): 125-67. Print.

4. Article Identification

After citing the article properly, include the identification of the reviewed article. All the information given below must be included in the first paragraph.

  • Title of the article
  • Title of the journal
  • Year of publication

For Example

The report, “Poverty increases school drop-outs,” was written by Brian Faith – a Health officer – in 2000.

5. Introduction

Before you start to write, you must organize your thoughts. You can use an article review template or outline of your assignment before you start. However, if you are wondering how to start an article review, always start with writing an introduction. It should contain the following things:

  • Thesis of your review
  • Summary of the key points of the article
  • Positive aspects and facts presented in the research study
  • Critique of the publication including contradictions, gaps, and unanswered questions

6. Summarize the Article

Write the summary of the article and discuss the central arguments presented by the author. Also, make a list of relevant facts and findings and include the author's conclusion.

7. Critique It

Here, state the author’s contribution and present the strengths and weaknesses that you have found in the article. Also, make a list of research gaps and see if the facts and theories support the arguments.

8. Draft a Conclusion

This section will sum up the critical points, findings, and your critique of the article. Here, the writer should also state the accuracy and validity of the review by presenting suggestions for future research work.

9. Revise and Proofread

The last step before submitting your article review is revising and proofreading. It is an essential part of the writing process, so make sure to do it right. For this, read the review aloud to identify any spelling, grammar, punctuation, and structure mistakes.

Tough Essay Due? Hire Tough Writers!

Article Review Outline

After reading your article, organize your thoughts in an outline. Write down important facts or contributions to the field. Also, identify the weaknesses and strengths of your publication and start to discuss them accordingly.

If your professor doesn't want a summary section, then do not write one. Like other assignments, an article review must also contain an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. So divide your outline according to these sections and subheadings in the body.

If you find that you're having trouble with prewriting and brainstorming for this assignment, try looking for a sample outline. An outline for the article review must contain the below parts:

  • Pre-Title Page:  State the type of the article that you are reviewing, the title of the publication, authors who contributed to it, and author’s affiliations (position, department, institute, city, state, country, email ID)
  • Optional Corresponding Author Details:  Name, address, phone number, email, and fax number.
  • Running Head:  It is the title of your paper, less than 40 characters.
  • Summary Page:  It is an optional section, depending on the demands of your professor. This summary should be a maximum of 800 words long. Just use clear and to the point language and do not give references in this section. Instead, state the background information about why the work is done and summarize the results.
  • Title Page:  Full title, 250-word abstract followed by “Keywords:” and 4-6 keywords.
  • Introduction
  • Body:  Include headings and subheadings
  • Works Cited/References
  • Tables and Figures  (if instructed by the professor.)

Refer to the following template to understand outlining the article review in detail.

Article Review Format Template

Article Review Example

Here is a sample review paper for you to write your own perfectly on time.

Sample of Article Review

Law Article Review

Looking at relevant article review examples may be useful to you in the following ways:

  • To get you started reading academic works by experts in your field.
  • To assist you in identifying the key researchers working in a particular area of study.
  • To assist you in describing the significant discoveries and advances made in your field.
  • To assist you in uncovering the key shortcomings in your field's current knowledge—which may lead to innovative ideas.
  • To assist you in obtaining credible support and documentation for your own consideration.
  • To assist you in coming up with even more research subjects.
  • To assist you to learn more about the subject and developing into a specialist in your field.
  • To get a firm understanding of how to write an effective review.

You can learn a lot about an author's style and voice by reading selections from their work. As you can see, skimming a few samples may be really useful to you.

As a result, the best method to acquire experience writing this sort of paper is to look for an online article review example that matches your grade level.

Article Review Topics

Below you can find examples of topics for article review.

  • Communication differences between males and females
  • The importance of sport for students
  • Negative health effects caused by illegal drugs and substances
  • Use of drugs in professional sports
  • Obesity and its negative effects on health
  • Causes and treatment of infectious diseases
  • Gender roles and their change in the modern world
  • Gun violence in the USA
  • Street art tendencies in the USA
  • Illegal immigration in the USA

It is hard to write a good review because you need to find an article in a reliable source and read it. With this, you are also required to evaluate the information and think about any further limitations. Thus, the writer must have exceptional writing and analytical skills.

Therefore, if you are unsure about your skills, you can always get professional help online.  MyPerfectWords.com  is the  top essay writer service  that provides legit writing help at affordable rates. Our team of top writers can write papers of all types and for different academic levels and subject matters with perfection.

So, do not think much, and hire our  writing services  to get your review done within the given deadline.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of an article review.

The main purpose of writing a review is to create an informative synthesis of the best resources available in the literature for an important research question or current area of study.

How long should an article review be?

Article reviews vary in length. Narrative reviews range between 8,000 and 40,000 words. On the other hand, systematic reviews are usually shorter and less than 10,000 words.

Barbara P (Literature, Marketing)

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

Paper Due? Why Suffer? That’s our Job!

Get Help

Keep reading

Article Review

We value your privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience and give you personalized content. Do you agree to our cookie policy?

Website Data Collection

We use data collected by cookies and JavaScript libraries.

Are you sure you want to cancel?

Your preferences have not been saved.

  • Open access
  • Published: 14 November 2023

Women’s experiences of psychological treatment and psychosocial interventions for postpartum depression: a qualitative systematic review and meta-synthesis

  • Pamela Massoudi 1 , 2 ,
  • Leif A. Strömwall 3 ,
  • Johan Åhlen 4 ,
  • Maja Kärrman Fredriksson 3 ,
  • Anna Dencker 5 &
  • Ewa Andersson 6  

BMC Women's Health volume  23 , Article number:  604 ( 2023 ) Cite this article

158 Accesses

1 Altmetric

Metrics details

To provide a comprehensive, systematic evaluation of the literature on experiences of psychological interventions for postpartum depression (PPD) in women. Depression is one of the most common postpartum mental disorders. Studies have identified that psychological interventions reduce depressive symptoms. However, less is known about the experiences of women who have received such treatments.

A systematic review of the literature was conducted by searching five databases (CINAHL, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, Medline, PsycINFO), in August 2022. Studies with qualitative methodology examining women’s experiences of professional treatment for PPD were included and checked for methodological quality. Eight studies (total N = 255) contributed to the findings, which were synthesized using thematic synthesis. Confidence in the synthesized evidence was assessed with GRADE CERQual.

The women had received cognitive behavioral therapy (5 studies) or supportive home visits (3 studies). Treatments were individual or group-based. Two main themes were identified: Circumstances and expectations, and Experiences of treatment, with six descriptive themes. Establishing a good relationship to their health professional was important for the women, regardless of treatment model. They also expressed that they wanted to be able to choose the type and format of treatment. The women were satisfied with the support and treatment received and expressed that their emotional well-being had been improved as well as the relationship to their infant.

The findings can be helpful to develop and tailor patient-centered care for women who are experiencing postnatal depression.

Peer Review reports

Pregnancy and the first year after childbirth involve significant changes in a woman’s life and can be associated with emotional distress of varying types and degrees. For some, worry and mood disturbances are natural and transient reactions to the challenges of a new life situation. For others, symptoms can persist and develop into a condition where support or treatment is needed. Depression is one of the most common postpartum mental disorders during this period. The prevalence of postpartum depression (PPD) has been estimated at 5–9% in high income countries, around 13% when self-report measures are used [ 1 , 2 ]. Women with previous mental health problems are more at risk, as well as women with previous or current stressful life experiences, especially being exposed to interpersonal violence, partner relationship problems, migration, and lack of support [ 3 , 4 ]. Associations between PPD and adverse outcomes on the child are most evident when depression is severe or recurrent, or when associated risk factors may explain a substantial part of the negative outcome on children [ 3 ].

In general, and across various cultures, mothers with PPD have been found to prefer talking therapies or supportive interventions over pharmacological treatments, in part due to fear of negative effects on the child by transmission to breastmilk [ 5 , 6 , 7 ]. A recent review highlighted how mothers put what they thought was best for their baby first when making decisions about treatment, including taking or not taking medication [ 8 ].

Systematic reviews have found that psychotherapy and psychosocial interventions for perinatal depression are generally effective [ 9 , 10 , 11 ]. Common treatments for PPD are cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), and non-directive supportive counseling, also called listening visits [ 9 ]. Treatments can use an individual or group format, take place as home visits, at a clinic, or be internet-based, and are often tailored for the postnatal period, sometimes including a parent-child interaction component.

Besides outcomes in terms of symptom reduction, it is also relevant to explore women’s experiences of treatment. A meta-synthesis focusing on experiences of seeking and receiving psychosocial interventions for postpartum depression found that women could experience several barriers to help-seeking, but that they were generally positive to the interventions they had received [ 12 ]. However, this meta-synthesis included low-quality studies. Barriers can be lack of time, stigma, childcare or transportation issues [ 5 , 6 , 7 ], and negative healthcare experiences [ 13 ]. Some women also have concerns about being judged as a “bad mother”, which may delay seeking help. Another meta-synthesis of studies concerning the experiences of perinatal women with a broader range of mental health problems, identified several unmet needs of information, collaborative integrated care, and post-treatment follow-up [ 14 ]. Some important components of treatment expressed by the women were the importance of the health professionals’ non-judgmental attitude as well as conveying hope.

The aim of the current review was to provide an updated and comprehensive understanding of women’s experiences of psychological interventions for postpartum depression, based on a systematic evaluation of the literature and a meta-synthesis of the findings, including an assessment of the reliability of the findings.

Search strategy

An information specialist (MKF) searched five databases: CINAHL (EBSCO), Cochrane Library (Wiley), EMBASE (Embase.com), Medline (Ovid), PsycINFO (EBSCO). Searches were run in November and December 2021, and updates in June 2022. A manual search of reference lists from the included articles was also undertaken to identify studies not captured by the electronic search.

The search strategy was developed by the information specialist in collaboration with the experts in the review team, and combined terms and phrases describing the population, interventions, patients’ experiences, and qualitative research methods. Another information specialist at the Swedish Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Assessment of Social Services (SBU) reviewed the search strategy using the PRESS Checklist [ 15 ]. The search strategy and search terms used can be found in Appendix 1. The review used PRISMA Guidelines for reporting the search strategy [ 16 ].

Inclusion criteria

Studies were included if they satisfied the inclusion criteria, see Table  1 .

Study selection

The search process yielded 8804 unique studies. All titles and abstracts were screened for eligibility, 70 articles were assessed in full-text, and eight studies were included for data extraction and synthesis after assessing for quality (Fig.  1 ).

figure 1

PRISMA Flow of study selection process

Quality assessment of primary studies

To assess the methodological quality and risk of bias, included studies were evaluated using the SBU Quality assessment tool for studies with a qualitative design [ 17 ]. This critical appraisal tool consists of five domains (adherence to epistemological position, recruitment and appropriateness of participants, appropriateness of data collection procedures, aspects of the data analysis, and the role of the researcher), each with signaling questions.

Three authors initially assessed each study (LS, PM, AD, EA, or JÅ), followed by a consensus discussion concerning the degree to which the methodological limitations impacted the findings, assessed as low, moderate, or high risk. For studies with a low or moderate risk of bias, data was extracted and compiled in tables while studies with high risk of bias were excluded from the further analyses.

Data extraction and synthesis

An inductive thematic synthesis was conducted using a three-stage procedure, largely in line with Thomas and Harden (2008) [ 18 ].

First, the included studies were read, in depth, to provide a full understanding. Three authors (EA, PM, and LS) also discussed their respective pre-understanding of the field, with both insider and outsider perspectives. PM (clinical psychologist) and EA (midwife) are both researchers in the field; PM also had experience of treating PPD. LS is a psychology professor, not experienced in this field, but in research methodology. These authors then independently extracted meaningful units from the included studies and translated them into codes. In stage 2, codes were grouped into descriptive themes, first individually, and then in a consensus procedure until everyone agreed.

The same three authors grouped the stage 2 themes, resulting in two overarching stage 3 themes. Thomas and Harden (2008) [ 18 ] have described this third step as generating analytical themes. In the current synthesis, however, the two main themes generated were descriptive, and will therefore be referred to as main themes. Throughout the process, the emerging results were reflected upon in relation to the results of the primary studies to ensure that the findings would be grounded in the data and interrelated with each other to form a systematic whole. Quotes illustrating the findings were selected by all authors together.

Assessment of the reliability of the combined findings

The reliability of the synthesis was assessed using GRADE-CERQual ( www.cerqual.org ), which consists of four domains: methodological limitations, coherence, adequacy of data, and relevance. Three authors (EA, PM, LS) conducted the assessments. First, two authors (LS and EA) assessed the synthesis individually and proposed a preliminary assessment which was then reviewed by a third author (PM), adding new perspectives. Finally, consensus was reached among the three authors to reach a reliability assessment for each descriptive theme in stage 2.

Characteristics of the included studies

The eight studies represented the experiences of 255 women from the UK, Australia, and Canada. See Table  2 for detailed information about the participants, the treatments, and the research methodologies.

  • Meta-synthesis

The meta-synthesis resulted in two main themes: Circumstances and expectations; and Experiences of treatment (stage 3) with two and four (stage 2) descriptive themes, respectively. See Table  3 for certainty of evidence assessment and CERQual components grading for each descriptive theme.

Main theme 1: circumstances and expectations

Practical circumstances and social support were important for treatment to be feasible . Women in several studies described how important practical and social circumstances could be for them to take part in treatment.

Women talked about practical issues such as transportation [ 20 ] and childcare [ 19 , 20 ] as fundamental. The internet-based therapies were appreciated for being accessible outside of office hours, despite some women having limited time for the program [ 22 ]. Another aspect was that many participants felt a lack of support from family and friends [ 20 , 21 , 26 ], and treatment was their only opportunity to talk about how they were feeling. Other women experienced some support from their family and meant that this support was vital for treatment.

“I didn’t have anyone to talk to and no one actually knew about me being diagnosed with postnatal depression, my mum or anyone, no one knew, not even my partner. So it was quite nice just to offload on someone.” (HV listening visits [ 26 ] )

Expectations, previous experiences, and attitudes influenced how women experienced treatment.

Women in most of the studies reported on how previous experiences, expectations, motivation, and beliefs about PPD influenced their experience of treatment. The women’s expectations of treatment were generally positive, however, there were those who didn’t believe that treatment would help them, grounded in a sense of hopelessness [ 21 ], or because of low confidence in health services, e.g., fear of not being understood [ 25 , 26 ] or not being taken seriously [ 21 ]. Others talked about how their feelings of shame for being depressed, and thoughts about not being a good mother, affected how they believed treatment providers would perceive them [ 24 , 26 ]. Obstacles to seeking help could also be previous negative experiences of certain health professionals [ 24 , 25 ] or screening procedures [ 24 ], or fear of having their child removed if they revealed their depression [ 25 ].

“None of us have ever admitted to having postnatal depression…there is still a stigma it’s incredible.” (Online-CBT [ 21 ] )

There were women who had their own thoughts about why they were depressed, how it should be treated, and the potential of the treatments [ 19 , 24 , 25 ].

“All you want is someone to actually listen to what you’re saying, even if it is complete crap and it’s all coming out wrong. You just want someone to say: “it’s alright, sit down and I’ll listen to what you’ve got to say”. That would do you the world of good and I think it would actually stop people from developing worse symptoms because people just won’t talk about it.” (HV person-centered intervention [ 25 ] )

Some women worried that other participants in group sessions [ 20 ] or the health visitor [ 26 ] might disclose confidential information and chose therefore to not share all their thoughts and problems.

Main theme 2: experiences of treatment

Overall, the included studies showed that the women were satisfied with the treatments they had received. Contributing factors were the format and content of the treatments, as well as the clinician’s approach.

The received treatment’s modality was appreciated, but women had specific preferences concerning length, scope, and individual adaptations.

Most of the studies included women’s thoughts and experiences of the treatment formats. Women who had received group therapies generally expressed positive experiences. They appreciated hearing other women’s stories, and that they could support each other [ 19 , 20 ]. Objections towards the group format could be not feeling connected with others in the group, or that group therapy does not suit everyone [ 19 ]. Others would have liked more group sessions, and individual sessions as an adjunct to the group sessions [ 20 ].

Women who received home visits were satisfied to receive support in their own environment and with the continuity [ 23 , 25 , 26 ].

Some advantages mentioned by women who received internet-based CBT were accessibility and flexibility and to be able to work with the modules when they could fit it in [ 21 , 22 ]. Internet therapy was experienced as less scrutinizing than face-to-face therapy [ 22 ], and less stigmatizing [ 21 ]. In one treatment model, the internet format was individualized with a personal e-mail from the therapist, which was appreciated [ 22 ].

“When my maternal depression was really bad, there was no way I would have left my house to speak with a therapist — I was so weepy, shaky and terrified. …//… in those early weeks, the sort of anonymous nature of this program was a Godsend.” (Internet CBT [ 22 ] )

In another study, where the internet format did not include any personal contact with the therapist, there were more dropouts, and the women had several suggestions for improvement, e.g., a more needs-based and relevant content, a more interactive format, and more individual support [ 21 ].

Regardless of treatment format, there were women who would have liked more treatment sessions and more flexibility and tailoring [ 20 , 21 , 22 , 26 ]. Other women were happy with the number of sessions [ 22 ]. Ending therapy was described as a potentially anxiety provoking time [ 19 , 26 ]. When women experienced continued support from family, other group participants, or professionals, this did not have to be a problem [ 19 ]. When no other support was available, however, ending therapy could be experienced negatively [ 26 ].

“Just me thinking about it [the idea of no treatment after the visits] now makes me feel quite panicky… what would have been the point of ripping off the plaster and starting to abrade the wound, only to then just say, oh well.” (HV listening visits [ 26 ] )

The relationship with the clinician, and perceptions about her/his competencies influenced how treatment was experienced.

Women in all eight studies talked about how they experienced their relationship to their health professional and their competencies.

The relationship with the nurse or therapist was described as important, regardless of treatment model or format. A good relationship was associated with trust and being able to talk about their depression. Some specific aspects of the relationship mentioned were chemistry [ 19 , 22 ], credibility and broad competence [ 20 , 21 , 23 , 26 ], e.g., knowledge of both infant’s needs and postnatal depression [ 23 ], interpersonal skills [ 20 , 23 ], and intercultural and language competencies [ 20 ].

She [health visitor] was so understanding and easy to talk to and willing to listen, that I actually opened up, otherwise I wouldn’t have done. (HV listening visits [ 24 ] )

Sometimes, a good relationship was not established, or mothers did not feel confident that their therapist had the appropriate competence or necessary personal qualities [ 24 , 25 , 26 ], or was not flexible [ 26 ]. These experiences could lead women to decline further sessions [ 24 , 25 ]. Some mothers wondered about who the home visitor’s primary interest was, the mother or the baby [ 25 ].

Women expressed varying opinions about the treatments’ content, therapeutic approach, and the extent of their own expected contribution.

Most studies included views concerning the specific content and therapeutic approach of the received treatment, and how this impacted the women’s own contribution.

Women who received home visits had many thoughts about the health visitors’ approach [ 23 , 24 , 25 , 26 ]. Active listening with an empathetic and non-judgmental approach was appreciated by many women as helpful for feelings of guilt and inadequacy [ 23 ].

Homework between sessions could be perceived as burdensome while also helpful [ 19 , 20 ]. Some components were appreciated by many, for example, psychoeducation [ 22 , 25 ], challenging thoughts [ 19 ] and storytelling in group sessions [ 20 ].

We’ve analyzed all the reasons why I’ve been down and depressed, how to, sort of, challenge negative thoughts. (Individual CBT [ 25 ] )

In the older studies there were women who didn’t find the home visits meaningful [ 24 , 25 ], and these were sometimes described as too unstructured [ 24 ]. In the newer studies, however, the experiences of home visits were generally positive. Although the home visits were intended to be supportive, i.e., not giving advice, there were women who expressed a need for more clear and concrete advice from their home visitor [ 23 , 25 , 26 ].

Also, women who received CBT expressed positive experiences of their therapist’s personal approach [ 19 , 22 ].

[The internet therapist was] so helpful and thoughtful. She wasn’t hard on me like I am on myself and really made me stop and think about how I treat myself. (Individual CBT [ 22 ] )

Women described positive treatment outcomes, but a few did not experience any improvement.

In general, women experienced their received intervention as helpful, and positive for their confidence and self-esteem. Treatment was described having led to a better understanding of their own distress and to insights about depression [ 20 , 26 ], to acceptance and normalization, a generally more positive outlook on life and the future, and an increased sense of control [ 19 , 20 , 22 ].

Not dwelling on all the negatives that I might feel, and she really made me see the little things that actually were big things that I’d done in life, so yeah, I think it made me a very different, you know, person. (Individual CBT [ 19 ] )

A common experience following treatment was a better mother-infant relationship. Women described how they had gained knowledge about infants and about their own importance for their child’s development [ 23 ]. Many felt that their own improved mood had led to a better relationship with their child [ 19 , 22 ] and that they had become more relaxed, patient, and secure in their parental role [ 22 , 23 ].

By 12 months, I felt I had the tools within myself to continue with sureness that I was a capable, confident mother. (Supportive home visits [ 23 ] )

There were women who didn’t experience any improvement. In general, these women didn’t perceive supportive counselling as therapy [ 24 ], or as a sufficiently powerful intervention [ 26 ], and proceeded to seek other treatments instead. This was particularly notable in women with more chronic or recurrent depression [ 24 , 26 ].

This meta-synthesis was based on studies that explored women’s experiences of CBT or supportive home visits. Treatments were individual or group-based.

Overall, the women were satisfied with their treatment, although various practical and social circumstances, as well as their own expectations, had an impact on their participation in and experience of treatment. Some findings reported were increased confidence and sense of control, and a better mother-infant relationship. Similarly, in an earlier meta-synthesis of psychological and psychosocial interventions for PPD, almost all included studies reported that women found their interventions helpful, specifically concerning their distress, their parenting, and their relationships [ 12 ].

Reoccurring themes in the current and previous syntheses were women’s wishes of being involved in decisions concerning their treatment and the impact of their own expectations of treatment [ 12 , 14 , 27 ]. They wanted to be involved in the choice of treatment type and format, and for treatments to be individualized, e.g., the selection and order of modules to be tailored to their personal preferences and practical circumstances. It has been argued that therapeutic alliance as well as flexibility, i.e., tailoring psychological treatments to the individual’s needs and circumstances can be more important than fidelity to treatment protocols [ 28 ]. In meta-analyses exploring the effectiveness of PPD, CBT has consistently demonstrated a favorable impact, e.g., Sockol et al. (2015) and Huang et al., (2018) [ 29 , 30 ], with a relatively large number of studies confirming these results. Furthermore, this effect seems to be consistent for different formats (therapy delivered individually, in groups, or digitally) [ 31 ]. This is encouraging, suggesting that mothers’ preferences for various formats align with positive outcomes from an efficacy perspective, potentially instilling a sense of confidence in clinicians when considering the delivery of CBT in diverse forms. A recent synthesis investigating experiences of psychological treatment for depression in a broader context, excluding PPD [ 27 ], highlights how expectations concerning specific therapeutic approaches or formats can influence motivation and engagement in therapy.

The current synthesis identified some general expectations, e.g., positive previous experiences of care or expecting services to be under-resourced. There were also expectations, beliefs, and fears more specific to the perinatal period and related to being a new mother, in line with other syntheses in postpartum contexts [ 12 , 14 ], such as motivation to get better, or fear of not being understood or not taken seriously. Mothers also worried they were, or would be seen as a bad mother, sometimes to the extent of fear of having their child removed. Our synthesis, as well as the one by Hadfield et al. [ 12 ] also identified women’s uncertainty concerning the health visitor’s role and competence to assess and support the mental wellbeing of mothers, which could sometimes lead to discontinuing treatment.

Women who had received group therapy expressed mainly positive experiences, consistent with McPherson et al.’s (2020) synthesis of non-postpartum treatments, where the group format contributed to normalization when realizing that they shared similar experiences and were not alone [ 27 ]. A negative aspect of the group format identified by McPherson et al., but less evident in our synthesis, was not feeling safe disclosing feelings, thus censoring what they shared. Common findings regarding CBT approaches were finding homework burdening, and more evident in McPherson’s synthesis than in the current, that CBT-modules could be difficult to apply.

Another finding, in line with Hadfield and Wittkowski [ 12 ] and a review by Daehn et al. investigating help-seeking among perinatal women [ 7 ], was the role of support from the partner or other family members to seek and take part in treatment. Practical circumstances such as transportation and childcare issues were evident for depressed mothers in the current and Hadfield’s synthesis, providing one reason for home visits being appreciated. However, the review of treatments in non-postpartum populations by McPherson et al. also found that transportation could be a problem and that remote therapy was preferred by some patients [ 27 ].

The significance of establishing a good relationship to their health professional was emphasized by the women, regardless of the treatment’s format or theoretical basis, consistent with other syntheses [ 12 , 14 , 27 ]. An empathetic, supportive, and non-judgmental approach was essential for the women’s wish to follow through with the treatment, and for their recovery. This is understandable considering how depression during this period is associated with feelings of anxiety, guilt, and worthlessness [ 32 , 33 ]. In the synthesis by Megnin-Viggars et al. (2015) women emphasized continuity of care; for example, seeing the same nurse or therapist during the whole care period from assessment to treatment and follow-up, as important for being able to disclose symptoms of depression [ 14 ]. McPherson et al. (2020) emphasize patients’ descriptions of the therapeutic relationship as collaborative, and providing a space for sharing thoughts and feelings, and for receiving advice [ 27 ].

Methodological strengths and limitations

Eight studies with low and moderate methodological limitations were included in the synthesis, and the findings concerning the women’s experiences were concordant among the included studies. Most studies had relatively few participants, but the interviews generated rich data with detailed descriptions of experiences. Most of the studies contributed data to all six descriptive themes, which were assessed as reflecting the variation in the findings, including contradicting and differing views and the complexity in the participants’ experiences. Authors had used semi-structured interview schedules with similar topic guides, likely explaining the similar types of narratives found. All studies lacked information about the researchers’ competencies and experience, and relationship to the participants; thus, how the authors’ preunderstandings were taken into consideration is largely unknown.

Other limitations are that the included studies were from the UK, Australia, and Canada and only one study targeted ethnic minorities, limiting the generalizability of our findings. Also, four of the eight included studies were more than 10 years old. Considering that we found some differences between the older versus newer studies in our review, it is possible that the delivery and formats of these treatments, mainly listening visits by a nurse or health visitor, may have changed over time suggesting a need for more updated studies.

A treatment with perhaps even better effect on depression during the perinatal period is Interpersonal therapy (IPT) [ 34 ], although less studied. It has been suggested that IPT may be especially suitable for women with postpartum depression because it focuses on improving relationships and addressing social support, which can be critical during the challenging postpartum period. IPT has been found to help women navigate the interpersonal challenges and changes that often accompany motherhood [ 34 ]. Unfortunately, our current meta-synthesis did not include any IPT studies, and limited data on treatment experiences are available. However, one study by Grote et al. (2009) reported high treatment satisfaction among mothers treated for PPD with IPT, as assessed through a brief questionnaire [ 35 ].

Strengths of the study include our following of an established method for synthesizing qualitative findings. Furthermore, and unlike previous meta-syntheses, we used CERQual to assess confidence in these findings.


Most women described positive outcomes of the treatment they received, and findings suggested improved parent-related outcomes. The findings highlight the importance of involving women in decisions concerning treatment for postpartum depression so that support can be tailored to their circumstances and preferences. It is important for practitioners to take an interest in the women’s own thoughts about why they are depressed and their expectations of the treatment. Furthermore, the personal approach of the health professional; non-judgmental, sensitive, and able to convey hope is important during this vulnerable time. There is a need for updated research, including experiences of IPT.

Data availability

The search strategy and search terms used are available in Appendix 1. The data that support the findings of the current study is available in Swedish from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

Gavin NI et al. Perinatal depression: a systematic review of prevalence and incidence. Obstet Gynecol. 2005;106(5 Pt 1):1071–83.

Article   PubMed   Google Scholar  

Woody CA, Ferrari AJ, Siskind DJ, Whiteford HA, Harris MG. A systematic review and meta-regression of the prevalence and incidence of perinatal depression. J Affect Disord. 2017;219:86–92.

Article   CAS   PubMed   Google Scholar  

Howard LM, Khalifeh H. Perinatal mental health: a review of progress and challenges. World Psychiatry. 2020;19(3):313–27.

Article   PubMed   PubMed Central   Google Scholar  

Howard LM et al. Non-psychotic mental disorders in the perinatal period. The Lancet. 2014;384(9956):1775–88.

Article   Google Scholar  

Dennis C-L, Chung-Lee L. Postpartum Depression help-seeking barriers and maternal treatment preferences: a qualitative systematic review. Birth. 2006;33(4):323–31.

Goodman JH. Women’s attitudes, preferences, and perceived barriers to treatment for Perinatal Depression. Birth. 2009;36(1):60–9.

Daehn D, Rudolf S, Pawils S, Renneberg B. Perinatal mental health literacy: knowledge, attitudes, and help-seeking among perinatal women and the public – a systematic review. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2022;22(1):574.

Westgate V, Manchanda T, Maxwell M. Women’s experiences of care and treatment preferences for perinatal depression: a systematic review. Arch Women Ment Health. 2023;26(3):311–9.

Cuijpers P et al. Psychological treatment of perinatal depression: a meta-analysis. Psychol Med. 2021;53(6):2596–608.

Dennis C-LE. Psychosocial and psychological interventions for treating postpartum depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007(4):CD006116.

SBU. Psychological treatment for postpartum depression. A systematic review including health economic and ethical aspects in SBU assessment. Stockholm: Swedish Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Assessment of Social Services; 2022.

Hadfield H, Wittkowski A. Women’s experiences of seeking and receiving psychological and psychosocial interventions for postpartum depression: A systematic review and thematic synthesis of the qualitative literature. Journal of midwifery & women’s health; 2017; 62(6)723–36.

Byatt NDO et al. Patient’s views on depression care in obstetric settings: how do they compare to the views of perinatal health care professionals? Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2013;35(6):598–604.

Megnin-Viggars O, Symington I, Howard LM, Pilling S. Experience of care for mental health problems in the antenatal or postnatal period for women in the UK: a systematic review and meta-synthesis of qualitative research. Arch Women Ment Health. 2015;18(6):745–59.

McGowan J, et al. PRESS peer review of electronic search strategies: 2015 Guideline Statement. J Clin Epidemiol. 2016;75:40–6.

Moher D, Liberati A, Tetzlaff J, Altman DG, Group TP. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses: The PRISMA Statement: e1000097 PLoS medicine, 2009;6(7).

SBU. Bedömning av studier med kvalitativ metodik [SBU Quality assessment tool for studies with a qualitative design] [In Swedish]. 2022. Available from: https://www.sbu.se/globalassets/ebm/bedomning_studier_kvalitativ_metodik.pdf .

Thomas J, Harden A. Methods for the thematic synthesis of qualitative research in systematic reviews. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2008;8(1):45–5.

Hadfield H, Glendenning S, Bee P, Wittkowski A. Psychological Therapy for Postnatal Depression in UK Primary Care Mental Health Services: a qualitative investigation using Framework Analysis. J Child Fam stud. 2019;28(12):3519–32.

Masood Y et al. Group psychological intervention for postnatal depression: a nested qualitative study with British south Asian women. BMC Womens Health. 2015;15(1):109–9.

O’Mahen HA, et al. Women’s experiences of factors affecting treatment engagement and adherence in internet delivered behavioural activation for postnatal depression. Internet Interventions: The Application of Information Technology in Mental and Behavioural Health. 2015;2(1):84–90.

Pugh NE, Hadjistavropoulos HD, Hampton AJD, Bowen A, Williams J. Client experiences of guided internet cognitive behavior therapy for postpartum depression: a qualitative study. Arch Women Ment Health. 2015;18(2):209–19.

Rossiter C, Fowler C, McMahon C, Kowalenko N. Supporting depressed mothers at home: their views on an innovative relationship-based intervention. Contemp Nurse: J Australian Nurs Profession. 2012;41(1):90–100.

Shakespeare J, Blake F, Garcia J. How do women with postnatal depression experience listening visits in primary care? A qualitative interview study. J Reproductive Infant Psychol. 2006;24(2):149–62.

Slade P et al. Postnatal women’s experiences of management of depressive symptoms: a qualitative study. Br J Gen Pract. 2010;60(580):e440–8.

Turner KM, Chew-Graham C, Folkes L, Sharp D. Women’s experiences of health visitor delivered listening visits as a treatment for postnatal depression: a qualitative study. Patient Educ Couns. 2010;78(2):234–9.

McPherson S, Wicks C, Tercelli I. Patient experiences of psychological therapy for depression: a qualitative metasynthesis. BMC Psychiatry. 2020;20(1):313–3.

Fonagy P. Fidelity vs. flexibility in the implementation of psychotherapies: time to move on. World Psychiatry. 2019;18(3):270–1.

Sockol LE. A systematic review of the efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy for treating and preventing perinatal depression. J Affect Disord. 2015;177:7–21.

Huang L, Zhao Y, Qiang C, Fan B. Is cognitive behavioral therapy a better choice for women with postnatal depression? A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS ONE. 2018;13(10):e0205243.

Li X, et al. Effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy for perinatal maternal depression, anxiety and stress: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clin Psychol Rev. 2022;92:102129.

Hoertel N, et al. Are symptom features of depression during pregnancy, the postpartum period and outside the peripartum period distinct? Results from a nationally representative sample using item response theory (IRT). Depress Anxiety. 2015;32(2):129–40.

Fox M, Sandman CA, Davis EP, Glynn LM. A longitudinal study of women’s depression symptom profiles during and after the postpartum phase. Depress Anxiety. 2018;35(4):292–304.

Jiang X et al. Efficacy of nondrug interventions in perinatal depression: a meta-analysis. Psychiatry Res. 2022;317:114916.

Grote NK et al. A randomized controlled trial of culturally relevant, brief interpersonal psychotherapy for Perinatal Depression. Psychiatric Serv. 2009;60(3):313–21.

Download references


Not applicable.

Open access funding provided by University of Gothenburg. Swedish Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Assessment of Social Services (SBU). SBU is a government agency under the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs in Sweden. This study was performed as part of a governmental research assignment in the area of women’s health.

Open access funding provided by University of Gothenburg.

Author information

Authors and affiliations.

Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

Pamela Massoudi

Department of Research and Development, Region Kronoberg, Växjö, Sweden

Swedish Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Assessment of Social Services, Stockholm, Sweden

Leif A. Strömwall & Maja Kärrman Fredriksson

Department of Global Public Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Johan Åhlen

Institute of Health and Care Sciences, The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

Anna Dencker

Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Ewa Andersson

You can also search for this author in PubMed   Google Scholar


This research is based on work conducted at The Swedish Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Assessment of Social Services (SBU), with author LE as project manager. All authors contributed to the study design and research questions. The search strategy was developed by information specialist, author MKF, in collaboration with all authors. MKF was responsible for the literature search. Authors PM, LE, JÅ, AD, and EA were involved in the initial assessments of each study. Three authors (PM, LS, and EA) were responsible for quality assessments of the included studies, for data extraction and synthesis, and for assessing the reliability of the synthesis (GRADE CERQual). The first draft of the manuscript was written by the first author (PM) and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Pamela Massoudi .

Ethics declarations

Consent for publication, role of funder.

The funder had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, or interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; or decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Ethics approval

Consent to participate, competing interests.

The authors declare no competing interests.

Additional information

Publisher’s note.

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Electronic Supplementary Material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary Material 1

Rights and permissions.

Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ . The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/ ) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article.

Massoudi, P., Strömwall, L.A., Åhlen, J. et al. Women’s experiences of psychological treatment and psychosocial interventions for postpartum depression: a qualitative systematic review and meta-synthesis. BMC Women's Health 23 , 604 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12905-023-02772-8

Download citation

Received : 12 July 2023

Accepted : 06 November 2023

Published : 14 November 2023

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1186/s12905-023-02772-8

Share this article

Anyone you share the following link with will be able to read this content:

Sorry, a shareable link is not currently available for this article.

Provided by the Springer Nature SharedIt content-sharing initiative

  • Perinatal mental health
  • Postnatal depression
  • Psychotherapy

BMC Women's Health

ISSN: 1472-6874

literature review article format

  • Reference Manager
  • Simple TEXT file

People also looked at

Brief research report article, long-term follow-up after treatment of tubercular uveitis: case series and review of the literature.

literature review article format

  • 1 Department of Ophthalmology, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • 2 Department of Internal Medicine, Section Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • 3 Laboratory Medical Immunology, Department of Immunology, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • 4 Department of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Indonesia – Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • 5 Department of Internal Medicine and Immunology, Rotterdam Eye Hospital, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Introduction: There is a scarcity of long-term follow-up data and management strategies for recurrent uveitis in tubercular uveitis (TBU), especially in cases extending beyond 10 years after the completion of initial antitubercular treatment (ATT).

Methods: This retrospective study involved five TBU patients who were initially treated with a combination of four-drug ATT for 6 months, and the five of them had more than 10 years of follow-up after uveitis resolution upon ATT completion. We describe the occurrence of recurrent uveitis and present our approach to managing these recurrent episodes.

Results: Recurrent uveitis and cystoid macular edema (CME) developed in three out of five included TBU patients with a median of 18 years (range 13–20 years) of follow-up. The anatomical sites of the recurrences were anterior, intermediate, and pan-uveitis. The recurrent episodes varied from 6 years to 15 years after ATT completion. Systemic or local corticosteroids/immunosuppressants successfully resolved all recurrent episodes, but one was also treated with the combination of isoniazid monotherapy again. Two patients needed anti-tumor necrosis factor-α therapy.

Conclusion: Long-term monitoring of TBU patients after ATT completion is warranted. Further well-designed studies with larger sample sizes are required to better estimate the risk of recurrences, investigate the underlying mechanism of recurrences, and identify biomarkers that predict who is at risk for recurrences.

1 Introduction

Diagnosis, treatment, and the preferred time for follow-up after initial anti-tubercular treatment (ATT) remain challenges in tubercular uveitis (TBU). The term TBU, as defined by a group of experts named the Collaborative Ocular Tuberculosis Study (COTS), includes intraocular inflammation associated with active or latent Mycobacterium tuberculosis ( Mtb ) infection ( 1 ). However, prescribing ATT for uveitis patients with a positive interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA) and/or tuberculin skin test (TST) without proven pulmonary or other extrapulmonary TB is often problematic ( 2 ). Even if a patient fits the definition mentioned above, not all uveitis spectra under the umbrella term of TBU have achieved consensus to initiate anti-tubercular treatment (ATT) ( 2 ). When there is doubt about the diagnosis, Gupta et al. have proposed criteria that included a response to ATT as part of the clinical clues toward an appropriate diagnosis of TBU ( 3 ). A recent head-to-head meta-analysis showed that, compared with those treated with corticosteroid only, TBU patients who received ATT had fewer recurrences ( 4 ). International guidelines focus on diagnostic criteria and the initial treatment; however, the long-term prognosis of TBU patients is not yet taken into account. The COTS group defined “cure” as “inactive disease (grade 0 cells/no inflammation) 24 months after a complete course of ATT.” The inability to taper systemic corticosteroids to < 10 mg/day or topical steroid drops to < 2 drops/day and the continuation of steroid-sparing immunosuppressants that are sometimes necessary after the initial treatment do not fit into these criteria ( 1 ). To date, reports on the long-term outcome of TBU beyond 24 months after treatment are scarce. We herein present our long-term follow-up observation of TBU patients treated with ATT. We describe the occurrence of recurrent uveitis and its management.

This is a retrospective study based on medical records data of TBU patients treated and monitored at the Department of Ophthalmology, Erasmus Medical Center, and the Rotterdam Eye Hospital, Rotterdam, Netherlands, between January 2002 and January 2004. Specifically, this study provides a follow-up report of more than 10 years on TBU patients who received ATT and were previously included in a TBU patient cohort ( 5 ). The diagnosis was based on active uveitis with a positive Mantoux/TST and no other cause of uveitis based on clinical presentation and ancillary tests ( 5 ). IGRA testing was not yet available at that time. All patients completed 6 months of ATT, consisting of 2 months of isoniazid, rifampicin, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol, followed by 4 months of isoniazid, rifampicin, and ethambutol (2HRZE/4HRE). None of the reported cases tested positive for human immunodeficiency. Neither side effects nor non-compliance with ATT were noted in any of the patients.

For this study, recurrence was defined as an increment of intraocular inflammation that required treatment adjustment. Cystoid macular edema (CME) was identified with optical coherence tomography (OCT) macula images showing any intraretinal/subretinal fluid.

In the previous case series ( 5 ), seven TBU patients were treated with ATT. However, two of them lacked follow-up: one patient had a positive culture result for TB on a lymph node biopsy but passed away 1 year following ATT due to a complication of a severe pemphigoid unrelated to TB or TB treatment; the other patient underwent vitrectomy due to retinal detachment 2 years after ATT but did not have any follow-up visits. The remaining five patients had long-term follow-up with a median follow-up of 18 years (range 13–20 years). Of the remaining five patients with long-term follow-up ( Table 1 ), recurrence of uveitis occurred in three of them, and these specific cases are described in more detail below.


Table 1 Demographic profile, clinical presentation at initial treatment, and follow-up condition of included patients.

A patient presented with bilateral posterior uveitis and was free of inflammation for 8 years after ATT. The recurrent uveitis at 8 years’ follow-up appeared as a more severe bilateral intraocular inflammation (panuveitis with edematous optic nerve) than the initial inflammation. In the time interval between ATT completion and the recurrent episode, the patient had two travel visits to a country with lower-moderate TB incidence category ( Table 1 ) but had no history of close contact with a TB case. At the time of recurrence, the systemic workup only revealed a high QuantiFERON ® -TB Gold In-tube level (15.09) without any other signs of active systemic TB. The patient received 300 mg of isoniazid daily and oral prednisolone (starting at 50 mg daily with gradual tapering) for 4 months, and clinical resolution was achieved. The next recurrent episode presented 11 years after the initial presentation. No other cause of infectious or non-infectious uveitis was noted at the time of recurrent uveitis, and the patient was successfully treated with mycophenolate mofetil and infliximab. Further details of the treatment strategies and duration for the management of recurrent uveitis episodes are provided in Table 1 . Until the end of the follow-up, 20 years after the initial presentation, the patient still used mycophenolate mofetil and topical dexamethasone three times a day for the left eye.

A patient with unilateral non-occlusive retinal vasculitis with CME did not show a relapse of uveitis or recurrent CME after ATT during the follow-up period of 13 years ( Table 1 ).

This case, presenting with chronic bilateral non-granulomatous anterior uveitis, did not show a relapse of uveitis or CME after ATT during the follow-up period of 19 years ( Table 1 ).

A case presented with bilateral serpiginous-like choroiditis. After completing ATT and corticosteroid treatment, the inflammation had completely subsided. Recurrent episodes of anterior uveitis occurred after 8 years and 15 years of follow-up. Repeated systemic laboratory workup showed no abnormalities that could be contributing to the recurrent uveitis, except for the high QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-tube level (9.89). Based on the discretion of the ophthalmologist and immunologist at that time, the patient was then treated with only subconjunctival steroid injections (betamethasone, twice) and topical 1% prednisolone acetate ( Table 1 ). No inflammation was noted at the last follow-up visit, 18 years after the initial presentation.

This particular case presented with bilateral intermediate uveitis and CME. The uveitis was completely resolved after ATT. The recurrent disease episode presented 6 years after ATT as bilateral intermediate uveitis. No other infectious or non-infectious causes of uveitis were noted after repeated systemic workup at the time of recurrent uveitis. An IGRA test was not performed at that time. The patient was treated with mycophenolate mofetil, after which adalimumab was started due to unresolved ocular inflammation under the former drug. The treatment for recurrent uveitis took 5 years until complete resolution of inflammation was achieved ( Table 1 ). From that time to the last visit at 14 years’ follow-up, there was neither recurrence nor CME with complete discontinuation of systemic and local anti-inflammatory drugs.

(Place Table 1 )

4 Discussion

Recurrent uveitis can even appear many years following the completion of ATT. Three out of five patients developed recurrence, of whom two needed a systemic immunosuppressant and a biologic. From the available literature, the reported follow-up duration following ATT treatment in TBU was limited. Only some studies reported the treatment outcome, including recurrent uveitis, after 2 years of observation ( Table 2 ). Unlike for new uveitis cases, there is no standardized guideline for the workup of recurrences. Laboratory investigations could help to rule out other differential diagnoses, such as autoimmune-related uveitis ( 11 ). Even though testing of ocular fluid for Mtb detection is important for establishing the diagnosis of TBU, especially in countries where TB is not endemic, the diagnosis mainly relies on clinical presentation, the exclusion of other potential entities, and a positive IGRA or TST result ( 12 ). In current case series, in none of the cases was another alternative systemic disease or infection identified that might have contributed to the development of recurrent episodes of uveitis. With the broader applicability of the IGRA test nowadays, IGRA is applied more often, compared with the TST ( 13 ). In a previous study, conducted in a non-endemic TB setting, the level of the IGRA was not associated with specific clinical phenotypes in TB uveitis ( 14 ). Moreover, the outcome of ATT treatment in TB uveitis was not predicted by the level of the IGRA at initial presentation ( 14 ). The level of IGRA does not seem to be an adequate biomarker for latent TB treatment ( 15 ). Taken together, the decision to restart ATT might not be solely based on the level of IGRA at the time of recurrences. In case 1, tailored isoniazid monotherapy was prescribed to prevent systemic TB activation during systemic corticosteroid treatment. Although it can be difficult to exclude a reinfection with TB even after a thorough examination, in none of the cases was there a suspicion of reinfection based on the clinical history and absence of other organ involvement. Importantly, there is no specific consensus or guideline for re-initiating ATT for recurrences. Multani et al. reported that, of 15 patients with a recurrence of tubercular uveitis, two restarted ATT without additional immunosuppressant use and achieved clinical resolution ( 16 ). Meanwhile, the remaining 13 patients were treated with local/systemic corticosteroid without restarting ATT, resulting in inactive disease in five patients. The remaining eight patients required an additional immunosuppressant, of whom six patients achieved clinical resolution ( 16 ). Another study by Kawali et al. demonstrated that, in possible tubercular vasculitis patients who received ATT, 16 out of 24 experienced recurrences during a median time of follow-up of 40 months (range 3–159 months) ( 17 ). However, specific details of the treatment for recurrent episodes were not provided ( 17 ). In the case of ATT-treated tubercular serpiginous-like choroiditis, treatment with ATT significantly reduces the likelihood of recurrences, although complete elimination of recurrences is not guaranteed ( 8 ). As described, anterior uveitis can also manifest as recurrent uveitis in tubercular serpiginous-like choroiditis following complete treatment with ATT ( 8 ).


Table 2 Data from studies on treatment outcome in patients with tubercular uveitis patients with 2 or more years of follow-up.

Previously, three hypothetical explanations for recurrences and chronic inflammation in TBU have been coined (1): the recurrence itself is caused by non-TB etiologies that are inadequately managed with anti-inflammatory treatment ( 16 ) (2), non-viable Mtb (after complete ATT) could still cause intraocular inflammation ( 18 ), and (3) autoimmune response could follow Mtb infection ( 19 ). As hypothesized in a recent review ( 19 ), plausible autoimmunity in TB could also have occurred in the cases presented here.

To date, there is still much unknown about the pathomechanism underlying recurrent uveitis in TBU. It was shown by an animal study that the presence of dead Mtb in the eye could stimulate ocular inflammation presenting as panuveitis ( 18 ). Furthermore, the primed mice, which received prior intramuscular injection of dead- Mtb , were more likely to have a chronic course of uveitis than the unprimed ones, with a significantly higher level of IL-17, VEGF, CXCL9, CXCL10, IL-12p40, and macrophage inflammatory protein-1α (MIP-1α/CCL3) in the vitreous samples ( 18 ). Thus, the presence of an Mtb antigen that might persist after ATT could induce chronic ocular inflammation. However, whether this phenomenon is associated with an excessive immune response to TB-antigens, induction of an anti-retinal immune response, or both, still needs to be addressed.

Aside from the possibility of an Mtb antigen being present in the eye, there is also a plausible development of autoimmunity following Mtb infection ( 19 ). Autoimmunity following TB infection likely involves autoreactive T-lymphocytes and the formation of anti-retinal autoantibodies (ARAs). Analysis of intraocular samples from TBU patients showed the presence of anti-retinal autoreactive T-lymphocytes ( 20 ). Moreover, increased serum positivity for ARA has been described in TBU, and intraocular fluid from IGRA-positive uveitis patients more frequently contained anti-tyrosinase autoantibody that was significantly associated with CME occurrence ( 21 , 22 ). However, serum ARAs, immunoglobulin G (IgG) against whole human retina extract (WHRE) and interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein (IRBP) were also detected at a higher level in cases of ocular toxoplasmosis and other non-infectious, immune-mediated uveitis ( 23 ). Even though serum anti-WHRE and anti-IRBP IgG levels were not as high as in those with toxoplasma and other non-infectious immune-mediated uveitis, slightly higher levels of those IgGs were also detected in individuals with chronic toxoplasma infection but without uveitis ( 23 ). The exact role of serum ARAs and the ocular inflammatory status of the eye remain poorly understood and warrant further exploration, particularly whether ARAs against specific epitopes is induced in TBU and could help differentiate TBU from other types of infectious uveitis. Furthermore, a case report was published of a bladder cancer patient who developed anterior granulomatous uveitis following intravesical bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) treatment ( 24 ). Excessive cell death might play a part in autoimmunity development following Mtb infection ( 19 ). This inefficient, excessive cell death in microbial-infected host cells enables the presentation of self-antigens that would lead to the generation of autoreactive T-helper 17 cells ( 25 ). Interestingly, the death-receptor signaling pathway was augmented in Mtb -infected retinal pigment epithelium ( 26 ).

When autoimmunity plays a significant role, as comprehensively discussed in a recent review ( 27 ), long-term immunosuppressive therapy may be indicated in selected patients. Anti-TNF-α was effective in treating recurrences in this case series without any sign of systemic TB disease reactivation. However, our findings must be interpreted with caution. This is a selection of patients with long-term follow-up. We aimed to include all seven patients identified between January 2002 and January 2004; however, only five of them had long-term follow-up data available. While our initial reporting did not set specific time restrictions for follow-up, it is worth noting that all five patients were followed up for more than 10 years and reports of recurrent uveitis in such extended follow-up periods following primary treatment with ATT for TBU are scarce. It is currently unknown whether recurrence in TBU is different between high- and low-TB-burden settings. In the absence of a gold standard for diagnosing TBU ( 28 ), it is also plausible that recurrences may be inherent to the uveitis course in uveitis of an unknown cause with positive TB immunoreactivity, which may not necessarily signify true TBU caused by direct infection in the ocular tissues. In all cases, uveitis resolution was initially achieved by subsequent administration of ATT after previous inadequate response to corticosteroids, reflecting the high probability of true TBU in the presented cases. Currently, there is no adequate evidence as to whether it is best to restart ATT in the first place for treating recurrent uveitis in a high-TB-burden setting. Although treatment with ATT for more than 6 months in the management of TBU appears to result in improved outcomes ( 4 ), there is still insufficient evidence to support the initiation of ATT for a duration exceeding 6 months. Consideration of ATT with a duration of more than of 6 months may be advisable in cases with signs of active TB other than in the eyes, particularly when the central nervous system is affected, or in situations of severe initial presentation ( 29 ). Additionally, it remains unclear whether 9-month ATT would effectively reduce the risk of recurrences, which warrants future investigation. Meanwhile, most studies reported the use of 6-month ATT for the mainstay treatment of TBU ( 4 ). According to the recent consensus, maintaining inactive ocular inflammation for 2 years following ATT is considered sufficient ( 1 ); however, our observations suggest that it may be prudent not to entirely disengage from the patient. Despite our efforts to document relevant medical comorbidities during recurrent uveitis episodes, including potential metabolic conditions such as hypertension, we were unable to obtain data on smoking. While the association of smoking and other metabolic diseases with the occurrence of non-infectious anterior uveitis has been noted ( 30 – 32 ), a more robust investigation of their stronger connection with uveitis activity, including recurrence, needs to be addressed in larger studies. Furthermore, we did not have samples to measure cellular or autoantibody responses in these patients, as these could be of interest in elucidating mechanisms, including plausible autoinflammation or autoimmunity, and markers for recurrent episodes of uveitis in TBU.

5 Conclusion

This retrospective study, despite its limited sample size, raises the importance of the long-term monitoring of TBU patients and highlights the possibility of recurrences unrelated to viable Mtb. Recurrence of inflammation and CME may occur years after TBU has been treated with ATT, which might be difficult to treat and may necessitate long-term immunosuppressive therapy. Further well-designed studies with larger sample sizes are required to better estimate the risk of recurrences, investigate the underlying mechanism of recurrences, and identify biomarkers that predict who is at risk for recurrences.

Data availability statement

The original contributions presented in the study are included in the article/supplementary material. Further inquiries can be directed to the corresponding author.

Ethics statement

The studies involving humans were approved by Erasmus University Medical Center (MEC-2022-0645). The studies were conducted in accordance with the local legislation and institutional requirements. Written informed consent for participation was not required from the participants or the participants’ legal guardians/next of kin in accordance with the national legislation and institutional requirements.

Author contributions

IP: conceptualization, data curation, formal analysis, investigation, methodology, writing—original draft, and writing—review and editing. PD: data curation, investigation, and writing—review and editing. JB: investigation, supervision, and writing—review and editing. WD: supervision, validation, and writing—review and editing. RN: supervision, validation, and writing—review and editing. PH: conceptualization, methodology, supervision, validation, and writing—review and editing. SR: conceptualization, supervision, validation, methodology, writing—review and editing, and writing—original draft.

The author(s) declare financial support was received for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. IP was supported by Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education (Lembaga Pengelola Dana Pendidikan, LPDP) (Grant No: 0004535/MED/D/19/lpdp2021). The funding source had no involvement in the collection, analysis, interpretation, or writing of the report, or the decision to submit the article for publication.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Publisher’s note

All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.

1. Agrawal R, Agarwal A, Jabs DA, Kee A, Testi I, Mahajan S, et al. Standardization of nomenclature for ocular tuberculosis - results of collaborative ocular tuberculosis study (COTS) workshop. Ocul Immunol Inflamm (2020) 28(sup1):74–84. doi: 10.1080/09273948.2019.1653933

PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar

2. Agrawal R, Testi I, Bodaghi B, Barisani-Asenbauer T, McCluskey P, Agarwal A, et al. Collaborative ocular tuberculosis study consensus guidelines on the management of tubercular uveitis-report 2: guidelines for initiating antitubercular therapy in anterior uveitis, intermediate uveitis, panuveitis, and retinal vasculitis. Ophthalmology (2021) 128(2):277–87. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2020.06.052

3. Gupta A, Sharma A, Bansal R, Sharma K. Classification of intraocular tuberculosis. Ocul Immunol Inflamm (2015) 23(1):7–13. doi: 10.3109/09273948.2014.967358

4. Betzler BK, Putera I, Testi I, Nora RD, Kempen J, Md OMK, et al. Anti-tubercular therapy in the treatment of tubercular uveitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Surv Ophthalmol (2022) 68(2):241–56. doi: 10.1016/j.survophthal.2022.10.001

5. van Daele PLA, Bakker M, van Hagen PM, Baarsma GS, Kuijpers RWAM. TB or not TB: treat to see. Med J Australia (2006) 185(3):178–9. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2006.tb00515.x

6. Lee DH, Cho H, Lee J, Choi EY, Lee SC, Kim M. Clinical features and long-term treatment outcomes in choroidal tuberculoma. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol (2022) 260(5):1641–50. doi: 10.1007/s00417-021-05474-9

7. Agarwal A, Agrawal R, Raje D, Testi I, Mahajan S, Gunasekeran DV, et al. Twenty-four month outcomes in the collaborative ocular tuberculosis study (COTS)-1: defining the “Cure” in ocular tuberculosis. Ocul Immunol Inflamm (2020) 28(sup1):65–73. doi: 10.1080/09273948.2020.1761401

8. Kawali A, Bavaharan B, Sanjay S, Mohan A, Mahendradas P, Shetty R. Serpiginous-like choroiditis (SLC) - morphology and treatment outcomes. Ocul Immunol Inflamm (2020) 28(4):667–75. doi: 10.1080/09273948.2019.1611878

9. Cordero-Coma M, Garzo I, Salazar R, Franco M, Calleja S, Ruiz de Morales JM. Treatment of presumed tuberculous uveitis affecting the posterior segment: diagnostic confirmation and long term outcomes] Tratamiento de las uveítis tuberculosas presuntas del segmento posterior: confirmación diagnóstica. Arch Soc Esp Oftalmol (2013) 88(9):339–44. doi: 10.1016/j.oftal.2012.11.011

10. Ducommun MA, Eperon S, Khonkarly MB, Cavassini M, Guex-Crosier Y. Long-term close follow-up of chorioretinal lesions in presumed ocular tuberculosis. Eur J Ophthalmol (2012) 22(2):195–202. doi: 10.5301/EJO.2011.8423

11. Rathinam SR, Babu M. Algorithmic approach in the diagnosis of uveitis. Indian J Ophthalmol (2013) 61(6):255–62. doi: 10.4103/0301-4738.114092

12. Jabs DA, Belfort R, Bodaghi B, Graham E, Gupta V, Holland GN, et al. Standardization of uveitis nomenclature working G. Classification criteria for tubercular uveitis. Am J Ophthalmol (2021) 228:142–51. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2021.03.040

13. Hamada Y, Gupta RK, Matteelli A, Abubakar I, Rangaka MX. Predictive performance of interferon-γ release assays and tuberculin skin tests. Lancet Infect Dis (2020) 20(12):1371–2. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(20)30772-6

14. Agrawal R, Grant R, Gupta B, Gunasekeran DV, Gonzalez-Lopez JJ, Addison PKF, et al. What does IGRA testing add to the diagnosis of ocular tuberculosis? A Bayesian latent class analysis. BMC Ophthalmol (2017) 17(1):245. doi: 10.1186/s12886-017-0597-x

15. Dyrhol-Riise AM, Gran G, Wentzel-Larsen T, Blomberg B, Haanshuus CG, Mørkve O. Diagnosis and follow-up of treatment of latent tuberculosis; the utility of the QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-tube assay in outpatients from a tuberculosis low-endemic country. BMC Infect Dis (2010) 10:57. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-10-57

16. Multani PK, Modi R, Basu S. Pattern of recurrent inflammation following anti-tubercular therapy for ocular tuberculosis. Ocul Immunol Inflamm (2022) 30(1):185–90. doi: 10.1080/09273948.2020.1772838

17. Kawali A, Bavaharan B, Sanjay S, Mohan A, Mahendradas P, Shetty B. A long-term follow-up of retinal vasculitis - do they develop systemic disease? Ocul Immunol Inflamm (2020) 28(8):1181–6. doi: 10.1080/09273948.2019.1697455

18. Pepple KL, John S, Wilson L, Wang V, Van Gelder RN. Systemic prime exacerbates the ocular immune response to heat-killed Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Exp Eye Res (2022) 223:109198. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2022.109198

19. Belyaeva IV, Kosova AN, Vasiliev AG. Tuberculosis and autoimmunity. Pathophysiology (2022) 29(2):298–318. doi: 10.3390/pathophysiology29020022

20. Tagirasa R, Parmar S, Barik MR, Devadas S, Basu S. Autoreactive T cells in immunopathogenesis of TB-associated uveitis. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci (2017) 58(13):5682–91. doi: 10.1167/iovs.17-22462

21. La Distia Nora R, Ten Berge JC, Rothova A, Schreurs MW. Antinuclear and antiretinal antibodies in uveitis associated with active and latent tuberculosis. Acta Ophthalmol (2018) 96(5):e659–e60. doi: 10.1111/aos.13707

22. Ten Berge JC, Schreurs MW, van Rosmalen J, Rothova A. Autoantibody profiling in intraocular fluid of patients with uveitis. Exp Eye Res (2018) 176:141–6. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2018.07.012

23. Cursino SR, Costa TB, Yamamoto JH, Meireles LR, Silva MA, Andrade Junior HF. Increased frequency of anti-retina antibodies in asymptomatic patients with chronic t gondii infection. Clinics (Sao Paulo) (2010) 65(10):1027–32. doi: 10.1590/S1807-59322010001000018

24. Garip A, Diedrichs-Möhring M, Thurau SR, Deeg CA, Wildner G. Uveitis in a patient treated with Bacille-Calmette-Guérin: possible antigenic mimicry of mycobacterial and retinal antigens. Ophthalmology (2009) 116(12):2457–62 e1-2. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2009.05.021

25. Campisi L, Barbet G, Ding Y, Esplugues E, Flavell RA, Blander JM. Apoptosis in response to microbial infection induces autoreactive TH17 cells. Nat Immunol (2016) 17(9):1084–92. doi: 10.1038/ni.3512

26. La Distia Nora R, Walburg KV, van Hagen PM, Swagemakers SMA, van der Spek PJ, Quinten E, et al. Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells Control Early Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection via Interferon Signaling. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci (2018) 59(3):1384–95. doi: 10.1167/iovs.17-23246

27. Putera I, Schrijver B, Ten Berge J, Gupta V, La Distia Nora R, Agrawal R, et al. The immune response in tubercular uveitis and its implications for treatment: From anti-tubercular treatment to host-directed therapies. Prog Retin Eye Res (2023) 95:101189. doi: 10.1016/j.preteyeres.2023.101189

28. Ludi Z, Sule AA, Samy RP, Putera I, Schrijver B, Hutchinson PE, et al. Diagnosis and biomarkers for ocular tuberculosis: From the present into the future. Theranostics (2023) 13(7):2088–113. doi: 10.7150/thno.81488

29. Kon OM, Beare N, Connell D, Damato E, Gorsuch T, Hagan G, et al. BTS clinical statement for the diagnosis and management of ocular tuberculosis. BMJ Open Respir Res (2022) 9(1). doi: 10.1136/bmjresp-2022-001225

30. Bi Z, Liang Y, Liu S, Li Y. Acute uveitis caused by abnormal glucose and lipid metabolism: a case report. BMC Ophthalmol (2023) 23(1):264. doi: 10.1186/s12886-023-02997-z

31. Joltikov KA, Lobo-Chan AM. Epidemiology and risk factors in non-infectious uveitis: A systematic review. Front Med (Lausanne) (2021) 8:695904. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2021.695904

32. Yuen BG, Tham VM, Browne EN, Weinrib R, Borkar DS, Parker JV, et al. Association between smoking and uveitis: results from the pacific ocular inflammation study. Ophthalmology (2015) 122(6):1257–61. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2015.02.034

Keywords: anti-tubercular treatment, immunosuppressive, recurrence, tubercular uveitis, follow-up

Citation: Putera I, van Daele PLA, ten Berge JCEM, Dik WA, La Distia Nora R, van Hagen PM and Rombach SM (2023) Long-term follow-up after treatment of tubercular uveitis: case series and review of the literature. Front. Ophthalmol. 3:1270948. doi: 10.3389/fopht.2023.1270948

Received: 01 August 2023; Accepted: 03 November 2023; Published: 17 November 2023.

Reviewed by:

Copyright © 2023 Putera, van Daele, ten Berge, Dik, La Distia Nora, van Hagen and Rombach. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) . The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Saskia M. Rombach, [email protected]

This article is part of the Research Topic

Insights in Inflammatory Eye Diseases: 2023


  1. 50 Smart Literature Review Templates (APA) ᐅ TemplateLab

    literature review article format

  2. 50 Smart Literature Review Templates (APA) ᐅ TemplateLab

    literature review article format

  3. 39 Best Literature Review Examples (Guide & Samples)

    literature review article format

  4. Literature Review Outline Templates (in Word & PDF)

    literature review article format

  5. 50 Smart Literature Review Templates (APA) ᐅ TemplateLab

    literature review article format

  6. How To Write A Literature Review Outline

    literature review article format


  1. Literature review

  2. Literature Review In ONE Day

  3. How to Write a Literature Review for Research Proposal OR Article

  4. Introduction to the Literature Review part 1

  5. Research Literature Review

  6. How to write a Literature Review


  1. Writing a Literature Review

    Writing a Literature Review. A literature review is a document or section of a document that collects key sources on a topic and discusses those sources in conversation with each other (also called synthesis ). The lit review is an important genre in many disciplines, not just literature (i.e., the study of works of literature such as novels ...

  2. How to Write a Literature Review

    A literature review is a survey of on a specific topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research that you can later apply to your paper, thesis, or. There are five key steps to writing a literature review: themes, debates, and gaps.

  3. Sample Literature Reviews

    Steps for Conducting a Lit Review; Finding "The Literature" Organizing/Writing; APA Style; Chicago: Notes Bibliography; MLA Style; Sample Literature Reviews. Sample Lit Reviews from Communication Arts; Have an exemplary literature review? Get Help!

  4. Literature Reviews

    Here is a sample paragraph from a literature review about sexism and language to illuminate the following discussion: However, other studies have shown that even gender-neutral antecedents are more likely to produce masculine images than feminine ones (Gastil, 1990). Hamilton (1988) asked students to complete sentences that required them to ...

  5. How to Write a Literature Review: Six Steps to Get You from ...

    A literature review I am currently working on, for example, explores barriers to higher education for undocumented students. Step Two: Search for the literature: Conduct a comprehensive bibliographic search of books and articles in your area. Read the abstracts online and download and/or print those articles that pertain to your area of research.

  6. Writing a literature review

    Writing a literature review requires a range of skills to gather, sort, evaluate and summarise peer-reviewed published data into a relevant and informative unbiased narrative. Digital access to research papers, academic texts, review articles, reference databases and public data sets are all sources of information that are available to enrich ...


    Steps to Completing a Literature Review. Conduct searches for relevant information. Critically review your sources. Determine the most important and relevant information from each source, theories, findings, etc. Create a synthesis matrix to find connections between resources, and ensure your sources relate to your main ideas. Use the synthesis ...

  8. Creating a Literature Review

    A literature review requires the writer to perform extensive research on published work in one's field in order to explain how one's own work fits into the larger conversation regarding a particular topic. This task requires the writer to spend time reading, managing, and conveying information; the complexity of literature reviews can make ...

  9. Sample Literature Reviews

    Home; Steps for Conducting a Lit Review; Finding "The Literature" Organizing/Writing; APA Style; Chicago (Author-Date) Toggle Dropdown Turabian ; MLA Style; Sample Literature Reviews

  10. How to write a good scientific review article

    A good review article provides readers with an in-depth understanding of a field and highlights key gaps and challenges to address with future research. Writing a review article also helps to expand the writer's knowledge of their specialist area and to develop their analytical and communication skills, amongst other benefits. Thus, the ...

  11. Literature Review

    Reference Page Format ; Abstract and Keywords ; Annotated Bibliography ; Style and Grammar Guidlines ; APA 7th Tips, DOIs, URLs & More. Paper Formatting Tips ; Sample Paper ; Title Page ; APA 7th Style Chart ; ... Literature Review Literature Review via APA Style.org "a narrative summary and evaluation of the findings or theories within a ...

  12. Writing a Literature Review

    Literature reviews as part of a larger paper. An "express method" of writing a literature review for a research paper is as follows: first, write a one paragraph description of each article that you read. Second, choose how you will order all the paragraphs and combine them in one document. Third, add transitions between the paragraphs, as ...

  13. How To Structure A Literature Review (Free Template)

    Demonstrate your knowledge of the research topic. Identify the gaps in the literature and show how your research links to these. Provide the foundation for your conceptual framework (if you have one) Inform your own methodology and research design. To achieve this, your literature review needs a well-thought-out structure.

  14. Writing a Literature Review Research Paper: A step-by-step approach

    The aim of this article is to present a step-by-step approach to writing a literature review research paper to facilitate student and novice reviewers' understanding. A literature review discusses ...

  15. A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Scientific Review Article

    Abstract. Scientific review articles are comprehensive, focused reviews of the scientific literature written by subject matter experts. The task of writing a scientific review article can seem overwhelming; however, it can be managed by using an organized approach and devoting sufficient time to the process.

  16. How to write a good scientific review article

    Here, I provide tips on planning and writing a review article, with examples of well-crafted review articles published in The FEBS Journal. The advice given here is mostly relevant for the writing of a traditional literature-based review rather than other forms of review such as a systematic review or meta-analysis, which have their own ...

  17. Literature Review Guide: Examples of Literature Reviews

    It may not be called a Literature Review but gives you an idea of how one is created in miniature. Sample Literature Reviews as part of a articles or Theses Building Customer Loyalty: A Customer Experience Based Approach in a Tourism Context. Sample Literature Review on Critical Thinking (Gwendolyn Reece, American University Library) ...

  18. Literature Review: Examples, Outline, Format

    Here are the top 3 tips you need to keep in mind when writing a literature review: 1. Good Sources. When working on a literature review, the most important thing any writer should remember is to find the best possible sources for their MOP. This means that you should select and filter through about 5-10 different options while doing initial ...

  19. How to write a review article?

    The fundamental rationale of writing a review article is to make a readable synthesis of the best literature sources on an important research inquiry or a topic. This simple definition of a review article contains the following key elements: The question (s) to be dealt with.

  20. Guidelines for writing a systematic review

    A preliminary review, which can often result in a full systematic review, to understand the available research literature, is usually time or scope limited. Complies evidence from multiple reviews and does not search for primary studies. 3. Identifying a topic and developing inclusion/exclusion criteria.

  21. How to Write an Article Review (with Sample Reviews)

    2. Read the article thoroughly: Carefully read the article multiple times to get a complete understanding of its content, arguments, and conclusions. As you read, take notes on key points, supporting evidence, and any areas that require further exploration or clarification. 3. Summarize the main ideas: In your review's introduction, briefly ...

  22. 15 Literature Review Examples (2023)

    1. Narrative Review Examples. Also known as a traditional literature review, the narrative review provides a broad overview of the studies done on a particular topic. It often includes both qualitative and quantitative studies and may cover a wide range of years. The narrative review's purpose is to identify commonalities, gaps, and ...

  23. How to Write an Article Review

    A review has specific guidelines and format to write. It can be either a critical review or a literature review. A critical analysis deals with a specific type of text in detail, while a literature review is a broader kind of document. Moreover, an article review is important because of the following reasons: It helps to clarify questions.

  24. Women's experiences of psychological treatment and psychosocial

    Background To provide a comprehensive, systematic evaluation of the literature on experiences of psychological interventions for postpartum depression (PPD) in women. Depression is one of the most common postpartum mental disorders. Studies have identified that psychological interventions reduce depressive symptoms. However, less is known about the experiences of women who have received such ...

  25. Frontiers

    Introduction: There is a scarcity of long-term follow-up data and management strategies for recurrent uveitis in tubercular uveitis (TBU), especially in cases extending beyond 10 years after the completion of initial antitubercular treatment (ATT).Methods: This retrospective study involved five TBU patients who were initially treated with combination of four-drug ATT for six months and five of ...