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Systematic and Systematic-like Reviews

What is a Rapid Review?

The Cochrane Rapid Reviews Methods Group uses the working definition from Tricco et al. (2015, Abstract):

"Rapid reviews are a form of knowledge synthesis in which components of the systematic review process are simplified or omitted to produce information in a timely manner".

Further, the groups suggest that "Cochrane RRs should be driven primarily by requests for timely evidence for decision-making purposes including to address urgent and emergent health issues and questions deemed to be of high priority" (Garrity et al., p. 1).

So the key element in a rapid review is the time factor. Otherwise, the steps in a rapid review are similar to other types of reviews:

  • setting the research question
  • setting eligibility criteria
  • searching
  • study selection, with title and abstract screening, and full-text screening
  • data extraction
  • assessment of risk of bias
  • synthesis (Garrity et al., pp. 1 - 2).

Chantelle, G., Candyce, H., Marialena, T., Gerald, G., Barbara, N.-S., Declan, D., Chris, K., Ursula, G., & Valerie, J. K. (2024). Updated recommendations for the Cochrane rapid review methods guidance for rapid reviews of effectiveness. BMJ, 384, e076335. 

Garritty C., Gartlehner G., Kamel C., King V. J., Nussbaumer-Streit B., Stevens A, Hamel C., &  Affengruber L. (2020). Cochrane rapid reviews: Interim guidance from the Cochrane Rapid Reviews Methods Group. ​​​​​​

Further Resources

Affengruber, L., Nussbaumer-Streit, B., Hamel, C., Van der Maten, M., Thomas, J., Mavergames, C., Spijker, R., & Gartlehner, G. (2024). Rapid review methods series: Guidance on the use of supportive software. BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine, bmjebm-2023-112530. 

Barends, E., Rousseau, D.M. & Briner, R.B. (Eds). (2017). CEBMa guideline for rapid evidence assessments in management and organizations. Center for Evidence Based Management, Amsterdam.

Booth, A., Sommer, I., Noyes, J., Houghton, C., & Campbell, J. (2024). Rapid reviews methods series: guidance on rapid qualitative evidence synthesis. BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine, bmjebm-2023-112620. 

Gartlehner, G., Nussbaumer-Streit, B., Devane, D., Kahwati, L., Viswanathan, M., King, V., J., Qaseem, A., Akl, E., & Schuenemann, H., J. (2024). Rapid reviews methods series: Guidance on assessing the certainty of evidence. BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine, 29(1), 50. 

Garritty, C., Nussbaumer-Streit, B., Hamel, C., & Devane, D. (2024). Rapid reviews methods series: assessing the appropriateness of conducting a rapid review. BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine, bmjebm-2023-112722. 

Garritty, C., Tricco, A., C. , Smith, M., Pollock, D., Kamel, C., & King, V., J. . (2024). Rapid Reviews Methods Series: Involving patient and public partners, healthcare providers and policymakers as knowledge users. BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine, 29(1), 55. 

Hamel, C., Michaud, A., Thuku, M., Skidmore, B., Stevens, A., Nussbaumer-Streit, B., & Garritty, C. (2021). Defining rapid reviews: A systematic scoping review and thematic analysis of definitions and defining characteristics of rapid reviews. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology129, 74–85.

Klerings, I., Robalino, S., Booth, A., Escobar-Liquitay, C. M., Sommer, I., Gartlehner, G., Devane, D., & Waffenschmidt, S. (2023). Rapid reviews methods series: Guidance on literature search. BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine, 28(6), 412. 

Nussbaumer-Streit, B., Sommer, I., Hamel, C., Devane, D., Noel-Storr, A., Puljak, L., Trivella, M., & Gartlehner, G. (2023). Rapid reviews methods series: Guidance on team considerations, study selection, data extraction and risk of bias assessment. BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine, 28(6), 418. 

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