What are the different types of reviews?

Although systematic reviews are one of the most well-known review types, there are a variety of different types of reviews that vary in terms of scope, comprehensiveness, time constraints, and types of studies included.

Type of Review Description Time to Complete Search Strategy Read More
Narrative / Literature Review Collates relevant studies and draws conclusions from them. 2+ months Search strategy not typically reported. Not comprehensive, which could introduce bias. Balancing the strengths of systematic and narrative reviews.
Scoping Review Presents a preliminary assessment of the potential size and scope of available research literature. Aims to identify nature and extent of research evidence (usually including ongoing research). 2+ months Completeness of searching determined by time/scope constraints. Librarian collaboration recommended.

Scoping studies: towards a methodological framework.

Chapter 11: Scoping Reviews (JBI Manual for Evidence Synthesis)

Enhancing the scoping study methodology: a large, inter-professional team's experience with Arksey and O'Malley's framework.

Rapid Review Assesses what is already known about a policy or practice issue by using systematic review methods to search and critically appraise existing research. 2-6+ months Completeness of searching determined by time constraints. Librarian collaboration recommended.

Evidence summaries: the evolution of a rapid review approach.

Integrative Review Reviews, critiques, and synthesizes representative literature on a topic in an integrated way such that new frameworks and perspectives on the topic are generated. 2-10+ months Aims for exhaustive, comprehensive search. Librarian collaboration recommended. The integrative review: updated methodology.
Umbrella Review Reviews other systematic reviews and meta-analyses on a topic. Focuses on a broad condition or problem for which there are competing interventions and highlights reviews that address these interventions and their results. 2+ months Identification of component reviews but no search for primary studies. Librarian collaboration recommended. Methodology in conducting a systematic review of systematic reviews of healthcare interventions.
Systematic Review Attempts to identify, appraise, and synthesize all the empirical evidence that meets pre-specified eligibility criteria to answer a given research question. Uses explicit methods aimed at minimizing bias in order to produce more reliable findings that can be used to inform decision making. 10-12+ months Aims for exhaustive, comprehensive search. Librarian will develop search strategy and write methods section of manuscript. Conducting a systematic review: finding the evidence.
Meta-Analysis A statistical test that combines the results from multiple studies to answer one or more research questions 10-12+ months Aims for exhaustive, comprehensive search. Librarian will develop search strategy and write methods section of manuscript. What makes a good systematic review and meta-analysis?

More information on review types:

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