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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Literature Reviews in Medicine and Health

Overview of types of literature reviews

Rapid Review

Assessment of what is already known about a policy or practice issue, by using systematic review methods to search and critically appraise existing research.

SEARCH is determined by time constraints.

APPRAISAL is a time-limited formal quality assessment.

SYNTHESIS is narrative and tabular.

ANALYSIS includes quantities of literature and overall quality/direction of effect of literature.

Source: A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Grant MJ & Booth A. Health information and Libraries Journal year: 2009 26(2):91 -108. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-1842.2009.00848.x.

Things to consider for Rapid Review

What is the focus of the review?
Consider depth versus breadth
  • Deep - an in-depth analysis of a small set of evidence literature
  • Broad - a brief overview of a larger number of studies that address the topic
What is the scope of the review?
  • Consider depth - will the scope be very narrow but deep or will the scope be broad by more shallow?
  • What limits would be applicable? - geographic or other setting, range of years, types of studies
How many studies?
  • What would be a reasonable number of studies to consider based on time and resources?
  • Consider narrowing or broadening your search accordingly
What outcomes are you most interested in?
How will studies be assessed for quality and what data will be collected?
Will data be analyzed qualitatively (Meta-analysis) or quantitatively through narration?

Doing Rapid Reviews