While systematic reviews have typically been considered the ‘gold standard’ for health research, they are typically much more cost, time and resource intensive. Increasingly, ‘Rapid Reviews’ are being utilized for scoping a number of topics to support evidence-based policy and practice decisions. Since Rapid Reviews are less methodologically rigorous than a systematic review, they provide an alternative for time and cost-sensitive projects. Although the methods of conducting a Rapid Review are highly variable typically the following steps are involved:
- Developing a well-defined research question within a narrow scope
PICOS: Population, Intervention, Comparator, Outcome, Study Design
Limiting the search strategy, including:
Fewer databases searched,
Limited languages (or English-only) searches, and
The time-frame for inclusion (e.g. past 5 years)
- Limiting or omitting bibliography screening
- Limiting or omitting grey literature searching
- Single reviewer for quality appraisal
- Single reviewer for data extraction
Due to these differences, Rapid Reviews may be more susceptible to a variety of biases, including: selection bias, publication bias, and language bias. These limitations should be clearly defined so that the reader is able to interpret and apply the evidence appropriately to any decision-making.
Other types of evidence reviews include:
- Reference Lists: Compiling a list of titles and articles
- Narrative Reviews: Qualitatively or Narratively summarizing the findings
Sign up for our free webinar: "Introduction to Rapid Literature Reviews" on Thursday, August 27th at 11:00am (MST)!
The webinar will cover:
- Key differences from Systematic Reviews: why are Rapid Reviews so popular?
- Best practices for conducting Rapid Reviews: who`s doing it and how?
- Presentation of Rapid Reviews: knowledge translation formats