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Systematic Reviews

Is a Systematic Review Right for Me?

Systematic reviews work best for specific research questions. They need a team of at least two people for independent scoring of results. SRs often take 1 1/2 years or more.

Other types of evidence projects include:

  • scoping review
  • rapid review
  • umbrella review

Here is a discussion of the differences among kinds of reviews:

Grant, M. J. and Booth, A. (2009), A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Health Information & Libraries Journal, 26: 91-108. doi:10.1111/j.1471-1842.2009.00848.x


Scoping Review: SR Alternative

Scoping review (ScR) characteristics

  • often broader question than SR
  • preliminary assessment of available research (not comprehensive)
  • completeness of search subject to time/scope constraints (unlike SR)
  • changing criteria post hoc is okay (unlike SR)
  • no formal quality assessment is required (unlike SR)
  • tabular summary of sources with some narrative

Scoping reviews require fewer person-hours than SRs, and are well-suited to broader questions. Cochrane and PROSPERO do not include scoping reviews. OSF publishes scoping review protocols. Many journals publish ScRs.