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Systematic & Evidence Synthesis 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.

Types of Literature Reviews

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

Review Ready Reckoner - Assessment Tool

Type Identification Tools

More Review Methodology Resources

Multiple types/purposes:

Scoping reviews

Integrative Reviews 


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

Rapid reviews

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

Rapid Review Guidebook.  Dobbins, M. (2017). Hamilton, ON: National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools. Rapid Review Guidebook 

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