Medical Writing Writing for Lay Audiences Writing narrative style literature reviews

Volume 24, Issue 4 - Writing for Lay Audiences

Writing narrative style literature reviews

Abstract

 Reviews provide a synthesis of published literature on a topic and describe its current state-of-art. Reviews in clinical research are thus useful when designing studies or developing practice guidelines. The two standard types of reviews are (a) systematic and (b) non-systematic or narrative review. Unlike systematic reviews that benefit from guidelines such as PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) statement, there are no acknowledged guidelines for narrative reviews. I have attempted to define the best practice recommendations for the preparation of a narrative review in clinical research. The quality of a narrative review may be improved by borrowing from the systematic review methodologies that are aimed at reducing bias in the selection of articles for review and employing an effective bibliographic research strategy. The dynamics of narrative review writing, the organizational pattern of the text, the analysis, and the synthesis processes are also discussed.

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