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Systematic Review Guide

Review Type Tool

Not sure if you should conduct a scoping review, systematic review, rapid review, or something else? The "Right Review" tool is a simple form that asks questions about your project and can help guide you to the best type of review for your topic.

Other Review Types

Not all research questions are a good fit for systematic reviews. There are other review types that employ thorough, documented search strategies, but that aren't quite as intensive as systematic reviews. Here are a few examples:

Scoping Review

The purpose of a scoping review is to assess the potential size and scope of available literature for a research question. Scoping reviews can be useful if you have a broad question and would like to gain a better sense of major themes or topics. The end goal can be the scoping review itself, or you may be able to use the findings from a scoping review to create a more well-defined research topic for a systematic review. See our Scoping Review Guide for more information.

Rapid Review

A rapid review employs many of the same methods used for systematic reviews, but is usually completed in a shorter span of time. Due to time constraints the search strategy used may be less comprehensive than traditional systematic reviews. Grey literature might not be included either. This type of review is typically undergone for urgent clinical decisions or emerging needs. 

Umbrella Review

An umbrella review is a systematic review of systematic reviews or meta-analyses. These are usually done when several systematic reviews have been completed for a topic and it is helpful to synthesize their findings.


The document included below includes information about fourteen review types. If your research question is not suitable for a systematic review we can assist you with determining a review type and can still put together a thorough literature search.