A literature review is a paper that summarizes and synthesizes existing research in a particular subject area. In many cases, a literature review gives the reader an understanding of current research and shows where the researcher is entering the academic conversation.
The distinction between a narrative literature review and a problem identification literature review is defined in Machi & McEvoy's The Literature Review: Six Steps to Success (p. 3-5). Be aware that this distinction has been referred to as "basic vs. advanced" and "simple vs. complex" literature reviews in previous editions of this book.
Key elements of a narrative literature review:
Tip: Read the introduction and conclusion of the article. If the author(s) discuss the literature only as it relates to their thesis statement -- without asking new questions for future study -- you're looking at a narrative literature review.
Problem Identification literature reviews include many of the features of narrative reviews, but differ by going one step further:
Tip: Skip to the conclusion. If the author(s) end the paper by asking questions and proposing potential new studies for the future, you're looking at a problem identification literature review.