Systematic Reviews in the Health Sciences
Should you consider another type of review?
Not all reviews are, or should be, systematic reviews. The following article offers a typology of different review types you may want to consider (see Table 1 for brief descriptions):
Grant M, Booth A. A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Health Information & Libraries Journal. 2009;26(2):91-108.
Some alternatives you might want to consider, depending on your time, scope, and resources, include:
Purpose: To modify the methods of systematic reviewing to generate an answer in a shorter time frame. Rapid reviews may take three weeks to six months to complete. They tend to be restricted to more easily-retrievable evidence; as a result they sacrifice some of the rigour typical of full systematic reviews.
- Ganann R, Ciliska D, Thomas H. Expediting systematic reviews: methods and implications of rapid reviews. Implementation Science. 2010;5(1):56.
- Khangura S, Polisena J, Clifford T, Farrah K, Kamel C. Rapid review: an emerging approach to evidence synthesis in health technology assessment. International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care. 2014;30(01):20-27.
- Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH). Rapid Review Summit. 2015
Example: Hersi M, Stevens A, Quach P, Hamel C, Thavorn K, Garritty C et al. Effectiveness of Personal Protective Equipment for Healthcare Workers Caring for Patients with Filovirus Disease: A Rapid Review. PLOS ONE. 2015;10(10):e0140290.
Purpose: To situate the evidence in the context in which it is being applied - realizes that context influences the outcomes of an intervention. Often summed up as "what works, how, for whom, in what circumstances and to what extent?" (Greenhalgh et al., 2011).
- Kirst M, O'Campo P. Realist Review and Evaluation: What Do We Know about What Works?. In: Burke J, Steven A, ed. by. Methods for Community Public Health Research: Integrated and Engaged Approaches. 1st ed. New York: Springer; 2014.
- Pawson R, Greenhalgh T, Harvey G, Walshe K. Realist review - a new method of systematic review designed for complex policy interventions. Journal of Health Services Research & Policy. 2005;10(suppl 1):21-34.
- Wong G, Greenhalgh T, Westhorp G, Buckingham J, Pawson R. RAMESES publication standards: realist syntheses. Journal of Advanced Nursing 69(5), 1005-1022.
Smylie J, Kirst M, McShane K, Firestone M, Wolfe S, O'Campo P. Understanding the role of Indigenous community participation in Indigenous prenatal and infant-toddler health promotion programs in Canada: A realist review. Social Science & Medicine. 2016;150:128-143.
Purpose: To assess the size and scope of available research literature, and identify gaps and research needs. The extent of the literature search depends on the reviewers time/scope constraints. While the quality of existing evidence may be described, there is usually not a formal quality appraisal process as with a systematic review.
- Arksey H, O’Malley L. Scoping studies: towards a methodological framework. International Journal of Social Research Methodology 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 Dec;67(12):1291-4.
Levac D, Colquhoun H, O'Brien KK. Scoping studies: advancing the methodology. Implement Science. 2010 Sep 20;5:69.
Example: Shommu N, Ahmed S, Rumana N, Barron G, McBrien K, Turin T. What is the scope of improving immigrant and ethnic minority healthcare using community navigators: A systematic scoping review. International Journal for Equity in Health. 2016;15(1).
Purpose: To synthesize the findings of several reviews around the same question. Quality appraisal may be of the reviews themselves, or of the studies contained within them.
- McKenzie J. and Brennan, S. Overviews of systematic reviews: great promise, greater challenge. Systematic Reviews. 2017; 6(185).
- Ioannidis J. Integration of evidence from multiple meta-analyses: a primer on umbrella reviews, treatment networks and multiple treatments meta-analyses. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 2009;181(8):488-493.
- Pham M, Rajić A, Greig J, Sargeant J, Papadopoulos A, McEwen S. A scoping review of scoping reviews: advancing the approach and enhancing the consistency. Research Synthesis Methods. 2014;5(4):371-385.
Example: Lau R, Stevenson F, Ong B, Dziedzic K, Treweek S, Eldridge S et al. Achieving change in primary care—effectiveness of strategies for improving implementation of complex interventions: systematic review of reviews. BMJ Open. 2015;5(12):e009993.
- Last Updated: Apr 28, 2020 8:19 PM
- URL: https://library.ucalgary.ca/guides/SysRev
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