High Level Reviews (systematic, integrative, scoping)

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

Data Synthesis & Analysis – An Overview

Integrative reviews  Scoping reviews  Systematic reviews


Once you have completed the data extraction process it is time for you to make sense of all the data you have recorded from the studies included in your high level review.

The amount of time you spend and the level of synthesis and analysis you undertake depends on the high level review chosen.

  • If you are undertaking an integrative review your analysis will be narrative and/or thematic. Your analysis should be descriptive and your synthesis qualitative.

  • If you have chosen to undertake a scoping review your analysis will focus on characterising the quantity and quality of the studies included in your review, concentrating on the study design of the included studies or another key element identified. The data synthesis in a scoping review is generally tabular combined with some narrative observations.

  • If you plan on undertaking a systematic review the analysis and synthesis of the data collected from your studies can be presented in two ways and this is dependent on the data that was extracted from the studies.

    • Meta-analysis is a statistical approach to your analysis. Undertaking a meta-analysis enables you to bring together studies that present similar (homogeneous) data, allowing you to analyse more variables and outcomes, therefore providing you with a clearer assessment of the data.

    • Meta-synthesis is the analysis of qualitative data where the studies included in your high level review are not similar (heterogeneous). With meta-synthesis there is not one set process for undertaking the analysis of the data extracted and requires a subjective approach. This is presented in a narrative or descriptive format.