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The implementation of premarital genotype screening in Ghana: A narrative review

A narrative review differs from a systematic review in that there are no acknowledged guidelines. However, you can borrow methodologies from the systematic review to reduce bias, like the PRISMA and CASP tools. Below is a guide that we have created to help you structure your review.


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Notes about Narrative Reviews:


  • Subjectivity in study selection is the main weakness of narrative reviews that can lead to biases.
  • Officially, there is no consensus on the standard structure of a narrative review. However, the structure often follows a modified IMRAD (see the following for further explanation:
  • We have created a structure for you below to help you with your process. The literature search is the Methods section, and it is a critical step in determining the selection bias.


Basic Narrative Review Structure:


  1. Abstract – 300 words
    1. Structured using IMRAD (Introduction, Methodology, Results, and Discussion)


  1. Introduction:
    1. Content
      1. Clearly state the research topic/problem
      2. Describe rationale/justification, comparison, or evaluation
  • Provide appropriate background information with key terms and concepts
  1. How will this review make a significant contribution to public health?
  2. What is the gap in research?
  1. Research Question
  2. Research Aim
  3. Research Objectives – should be SMART and aligned with the research aim


  1. Literature Search (also can be called Methods/Methodology Section)
    1. Search strategy: databases, keywords. You can refer to thesaurus systems such as MeSH.
      1. Tips:
        1. Include a variety of sources and use multiple different databases.
        2. Original articles are preferable to other narrative reviews.
        3. Use a combination of studies/resources: RCTs, observational studies, editorials by popular opinion leaders, etc.
      2. PRISMA – based flowchart
  • Inclusion/Exclusion criteria
  1. Types of studies
  2. Languages
  3. Time periods, etc.
  1. Verify the availability of all selected studies
  2. Cite and list the researched references



  1. Results
    1. Summarise the critical analysis from the tables in the appendices and describe your choice of assessment tool. You can use any of several appropriate assessment tools. Suggestions are: CASP, SANRA, STROBE, etc.
      1. Tips:
        1. Consider reviewing between 25 articles/sources
        2. Each source should be critically evaluated according to:
          1. Key results
          2. Limitations
          3. Suitability of the methods used to test the original hypothesis (if a hypothesis is used)
          4. Quality of the results obtained
          5. Interpretation of the results
          6. Impact of the conclusions in the field
        3. It may be opportune to integrate new articles in case of missing information.
      2. Discussion
        1. Summarize main findings
        2. Discuss your findings in relation to other studies.
          1. What is consistent or inconsistent?
        3. Do the findings contradict or support your hypothesis? (only if you have a hypothesis).
        4. Limitations of the review
        5. State the bottom line: what does that data mean?
        6. Include relevance for the public health field and includerecommendations and implications for further public health action.


  1. Appendices (will not be included in the word count)
    1. Detailed tables with relevant and appropriate critical analysis (may include relevant CASP, SANRA or STROBE tools) of the materials (because these will not be only research articles).






Overall Tips:


  • The Results/Discussion section should be finalized before the introduction is written.
  • Informative titles, which state the relevant elements of the manuscript conclusively are considered better than indicative titles
  • Make sure source are up to date (within the past 10 years)
  • Make sure the data you present is relevant with you aims and objectives and that it will answer your research question.
  • The abstract should be written last





Ferrari, R. (2015). Writing narrative style literature reviews. Medical Writing, [online] 24(4), pp.230–235. Available at:


Green, B.N., Johnson, C.D. and Adams, A. (2006). Writing narrative literature reviews for peer-reviewed journals: secrets of the trade. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 5(3), pp.101–117.


The Writing Center Writing an IMRaD Report What is an IMRaD report? Introduction -Make a case for your research. (1200). [online] . Available at: [Accessed 16 Aug. 2021].