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Case Study: Librarian Services

Case Study: Librarian Services

Case Study: Librarian Services

Case Study: Librarian Services


A typology of reviews, Maria J. Grant & Andrew Booth

© 2009 The authors Journal compilation © 2009 Health Libraries Group. Health Information and Libraries Journal, 26, pp.91–108


librarian services as a means of developing their collective research skills.57


The librarian or information specialist who seeks to use or to develop reviews, either individually or as a team, encounters considerable variation in the associated terminology. Whilst it is easy to run the risk of stereotyping or over-simplification when attempting to characterize the main aspects of variation, at this point in time, any attempt at typology is necessarily descriptive. Only a handful of review types possess prescribed and explicit methodologies and many of the labels used fall short of being mutually exclusive. In lieu of internationally recognized review definitions, the typology reported here acknowledges that there is a lack of unique distinguishing features for the most common review types, whilst highlighting that some common features do exist.

LIS workers, whether involved in appraising published reviews or in the not insignificant under- taking of developing a review of their own, should pay particular attention to the importance of clear and transparent descriptions reporting individual methods. The typology of reviews presented in this paper provides a potentially valuable resource in informing how LIS workers may seek to approach such an undertaking. It will also provide a basis for those commissioning reviews, conducting reviews or supporting reviews to gain an improved understanding of what is required. In furthering the dual objectives of evidence-based library and information practice, in contributing both to the evidence-based practice of LIS workers themselves and to supporting the practice of others, the wide variety of review types identified holds the potential to further transform the health information landscape.

Key Messages

Implications for Policy

• Given the current overlap of methodologies, there is a need for an internationally agreed set of discrete, coherent and mutually exclusive review types.

• An agreed typology can provide an explicit basis for those involved in commissioning reviews, and those involved in delivering to such commissions, to gain a clear understanding of what is required and resources needed to meet the specification.

Implications for Practice