Multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) is a valuable resource within operations research and management science. Various MCDA methods have been developed over the years and applied to decision problems in many different areas. The outranking approach, and in particular the family of ELECTRE methods, continues to be a popular research field within MCDA, despite its more than 40 years of existence. In this paper, a comprehensive literature review of English scholarly papers on ELECTRE and ELECTRE-based methods is performed. Our aim is to investigate how ELECTRE and ELECTRE-based methods have been considered in various areas. This includes area of applications, modifications to the methods, comparisons with other methods, and general studies of the ELECTRE methods. Although a significant amount of literature on ELECTRE is in a language different from English, we focus only on English articles, because many researchers may not be able to perform a study in some of the other languages. Each paper is categorized according to its main focus with respect to ELECTRE, i.e. if it considers an application, performs a review, considers ELECTRE with respect to the problem of selecting an MCDA method or considers some methodological aspects of ELECTRE. A total of 686 papers are included in the review. The group of papers considering an application of ELECTRE consists of 544 papers, and these are further categorized into 13 application areas and a number of sub-areas. In addition, all papers are classified according to the country of author affiliation, journal of publication, and year of publication. For the group of applied papers, the distribution by ELECTRE version vs. application area and ELECTRE version vs. year of publication are provided. We believe that this paper can be a valuable source of information for researchers and practitioners in the field of MCDA and ELECTRE in particular.