The Difference Between Narrative and Systematic Review

best-written narrative reviewFor students, literature reviews are an important part of their curriculum. Before we delve deep into the differences between the two main types of literature reviews, we need to first define what a literature review is. In simple terms, a literature review is a methodological study. And during the study, you as the student employs information from databases and relevant searches in order to meet the goals and objectives of a given theme or topic. Now, the two main types of reviews are narrative review vs systematic review. Follow the link and discover what narrative review services you can get right now!

What is the difference between narrative review and systematic review? Narrative reviews dwell on a given topic by receiving content from relevant databases. However, they are approached from a contextual, or rather, theoretical point of view. This means that they do not include the approaches undertaken to retrieve the information from databases or the selection process for information retrieval. They dwell more on the analysis of a subject matter.

winning narrative reviewSystematic Reviews, on the other hand, are well-planned reviews that include the methodologies used to identify, single out and collect data and retrieve information for the overall critical analysis of the given subject or theme. This means that one has to conduct rigorous methodological activities to retrieve inclusive data and information. It is rare for students to be given systematic reviews, (unless your professor is a total bore!) but in the event that they are, one needs to really budget the time allocated for completion of the review. What is a narrative review? Follow the link and learn just now!

Narrative Review vs. Systematic Review- the differences

Here is a table indicating the features of systematic vs narrative review

Narrative Literature Review Systematic Literature Review
They answer the question posed by the subject matter in broad terms They answer the question posed by the subject matter specifically and critically
The sources of information retrieval do not have to be specified in terms of data collection The sources of information retrieval have to be specified and have to be explained down to every detail
The selection process of information used is not specified Criterion based selection is applied in this case, and has to be uniformly distributed.
The information retrieved is often variable There is rigorous critical evaluation of information before its use on the subject matter
The information retrieved is often qualitative The information retrieved is both qualitative and quantitative
The information retrieved is sometimes evidence-based, though not completely accurate The information retrieved is strictly evidence based

So What Are the Pros and the Cons of Narrative vs Systematic Review?


  • Narrative reviews are simpler to write and to retrieve information
  • Not as time-consuming as systematic reviews
  • Do not necessarily require the involvement of an expert in the given field
  • Are a great way to introduce a learner to a given subject matter


  • May not be in-depth as one might expect and sometimes just address the surface objectives of a topic.
  • The methodological approaches of retrieval of information are not addressed.

Systematic Review


  • Employ extensive research and give detailed information on the subject matter
  • Can be used for future reference when researching more on a given topic.


  • Can be time-consuming and at times expensive.
  • Requires the assistance of professionals and experts in the given field of question.

brilliant narrative reviewIn the end, each review is beneficial for the development and understanding of a given subject topic. Here at narrativereview.com, we take the difference between narrative vs systematic review with utmost care, ensuring that each is delivered with optimal quality. For more information on the difference between systematic review vs narrative review, you can visit our website.

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