Skip to main content

Systematic Reviews: Review Types

Basic information on types of "knowledge syntheses"/systematic reviews to help users plan the best review type, team, methods and have a clear sense of the expectations/responsibilities of performing these comprehensive literature review projects.

Decision table

Use the table below to identify review types that might be most suitable for your question, purpose, timetable and purpose. Use the bibliography in the next box to read more about the possible matches in order to make an informed choice.

If you... Consider this type
Have a submission/presentation deadline within 4 months Rapid review
Want to explore a new field or a field that you suspect has little published literature Scoping review
Hope to integrate qualitative and quantitative research Mixed methods review
Expect to find enough similar studies to statistically pool results Meta-analysis

What Type of Review Are You?

Read more on types of reviews

Multiple types/purposes:

Grant MJ and A Booth. A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Health Information and Libraries Journal. doi: 10.1111.lj.1471-1842.2009.00848.x First published May 27, 2009

Tricco AC, Soobiah C, Antony J, Cogo E, MacDonald H, Lillie E, Tran J, D'Souza J, Hui W, Perrier L, Welch V, Horsley T, Straus SE, Kastner M. A scoping review identifies multiple emerging knowledge synthesis methods, but few studies operationalize the method. J Clin Epidemiol. 2016 May;73:19-28. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2015.08.030. Epub 2016 Feb 15.

Tricco  AC, Tezlaff J, Moher D.  The art and science of knowledge synthesis. J Clin Epidemiol. 2011 Jan;64(1):11-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2009.11.007. Epub 2010 Mar 1.


Stroup DR, Thacker SB, Olson CB, Glass RM, Hutwagner L. Characteristics of meta-analyses related to acceptance for publication in a medical journal. J Clin Epidemiol 2001 Jul: 5497): 655-60. PMID 11438405

Rapid reviews

Tricco AC, Antony J, Zarin W, Strifler L, Ghassemi M, Ivory J, Perrier L, Hutton B, Moher D, Straus SE. A scoping review of rapid review methods.  BMC Med. 2015; 13: 224. Published online 2015 Sep 16. doi:  10.1186/s12916-015-0465-6

Scoping reviews

Arksey H, O’Malley L. Scoping studies: towards a methodological framework. Int J Social Research Methodology (February 2005) 8(1):19-32

Colquhoun HL, Levac D, O’Brien KK, Straus S, Tricco AC, Perrier L, Kastner M, Moher D. Scoping reviews: time for clarity in definition, methods and reporting. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology (2014) 67(12): 1291-1294. (Side-by side table summarizing each stage of Arksey & O’Malley framework with Levac et al’s 2010 enhancements on pp. 1293-4

University of Florida Home Page

This page uses Google Analytics - (Google Privacy Policy)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.