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Systematic Reviews

Modified Steps for Other Review Types

Systematic Review:  Seeks to systematically search for, appraise and synthesis research evidence, often adhering to guidelines on the conduct of a review.
Step
Difference from Systematic Review
Planning

Follow PIECES

Identifying

Follow PIECES

Evaluating

Follow PIECES

Collection

Follow PIECES

Explaining

Synthesis is typically narrative with tabular and perhaps graphical accompaniment.  Analysis focuses on what is known leading to recommendations for practice.  Analysis also focuses on what remains unknown and the uncertainty around findings leading to recommendations for future research.

Summarizing

Audience tends to be the research community and practitioners.
Protocols are often registered
Summaries are usually submitted to peer-reviewed journals.

Scoping Review:  Preliminary assessment of potential size and scope of available research literature. Aims to identify nature and extent of research evidence (usually including ongoing research).
Step
Difference from Systematic Review
Planning

The research question can be broader and more topical.

Identifying

Same as for systematic review

Evaluating

Review all citations for inclusion due to relevancy

Do not need critical appraisal

Collection

Not needed

Explaining

Synthesis is typically tabular with some narrative commentary.  Analysis characterizes quantity and quality of literature, perhaps by study design and other key features.

Summarizing Audience tends to be the research community and practitioners but also policy makers and agencies
Protocols are sometimes registered, and summaries submitted to peer-reviewed journals or as reports.

 

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.
Step
Difference from Systematic Review
Planning

Does not need a team.

Identifying

Completeness of searching determined by time constraints.  May search fewer databases and grey literature sources.

Evaluating

Review all citations for inclusion due to relevancy.

Critical appraisal maybe truncated due to time limitations.

Collection

Data collection more focused with fewer data elements.

Sometimes data is directly put into tables rather than using forms.

Explaining

Synthesis is typically narrative and tabular.  Analysis focuses on the auantities of literature and overall quality/direction of effect of literature.

Summarizing Audience tends to be policy makers and agencies.
Summaries are often submitted as reports.
Literature Review:  Generic term: published materials that provide examination of recent or current literature. Can cover wide range of subjects at various levels of completeness and comprehensiveness. May include research findings.
Step
Difference from Systematic Review
Planning

Can be conducted by a single researcher.

Do not need to pose a research question using an established framework or establish a protocol.

Identifying

May use comprehensive searching as for systematic review.

Evaluating

May use formal criteria for inclusion due to relevancy.

May include critical appraisal.

Collection

Not needed

Explaining

Synthesis is typically narrative.  Analysis may be chronological, conceptual, thematic, etc.

Summarizing Audience, summary type, and dissemination depend on the purpose of the review.
Protocols are not registered.
Scoping Review:  Technique that statistically combines the results of quantitative studies to provide a more precise effect of the results.
Step
Difference from Systematic Review
Planning

Same as for systematic review

Identifying

Same as for systematic review

Evaluating Same as for systematic review
Collection

Same as for systematic review

May include sensitivity analysis

Explaining

Synthesis is graphical and tabular with narrative commentary.  Meta Analysis incorporates a numerical analysis of measures of effect assuming absence of heterogeneity.

Summarizing Audience tends to be the research community and practitioners.
Protocols are often registered
Summaries are usually submitted to peer-reviewed journals.

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