High Level Reviews (systematic, integrative, scoping)

Integrative Reviews, Scoping Reviews, and Systematic Reviews are high level literature reviews.

High Level Reviews

So, when we say, “High level review”, what do we actually mean?

It is all about the execution of the review. These types of reviews are not a walk in the park or a tick the box.

  • High level reviews follow a protocol. A set of clearly defined guidelines that enable the review team to identify, analyse, appraise, and synthesize the studies included in the review.
  • Some high level reviews may also include a meta-analysis; however, this is dependent on the types of studies included in the review.
  • High level reviews usually require a longer time to complete than traditional literature reviews because of the extra stages.

High level reviews of published literature can produce a standalone document or comprise a stage of a larger project. For example, you might undertake one as part of your thesis research.


Having a clear understanding of what you hope to find by undertaking a high level review can help you in selecting the right review for you. These are just some questions that can assist you in deciding if a high level review should be undertaken, or if you should look at a different type of a review, such as a Literature Review or a Systematic Literature Review.


Before you select your review type, it is important to consider the following:

  • What do I hope to achieve in undertaking a high level review?
  • Can I find the evidence I need with the already vast amount of published literature available?
  • Do I want to publish?
  • Am I hoping to change current practices in my professional field?
  • Am I looking for a current gap in the literature available to support my research proposal?
  • Am I just going to be adding to the vast amounts of literature out there, or am I going to contribute something new?




Note: Systematic Literature Reviews have not been included in within the group of high level reviews as the development and application of the search strategy is the only component of this review that take a systematic approach. See the Literature Review guide for information on this type.


Video Watch a short video overview of high level reviews.

Guide navigation tip

Look for the icon for your review type at the top of each main page of this guide to see if that section or stage is relevant to you.(Subpages are not marked in this way, but they are relevant if their parent page is.)

Integrative reviews icon Integrative reviews     Scoping reviews icon Scoping reviews     Systematic reviews icon Systematic reviews