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Systematic Reviews

Rapid evidence assessment / review

Description

Rapid evidence assessments or reviews allow for a structured and rigorous search, as well as a quality assessment of the uncovered evidence, but are not as extensive and exhaustive as a systematic review. They often provide a brief summary of the evidence discovered, so that informed, evidence-based, conclusions can be drawn. They tend to be used in making informed decisions often by policy makers or are used to justify the need for further research.

Common characteristics

  • Applies systematic review methodology within short timeframe.
  • Provides a quick overview of the available evidence on a chosen topic
  • Acknowledges the inherent weaknesses of conducting a fast, rapid review, including bias.
  • Useful for finding evidence fast to support quick decisions making.
  • Purposely restricted to searching a limited number of key resources or databases
  • Limited in the types of studies they might include (e.g. randomised controlled trials)
  • Less focus on the overall quality of the original source material or evidence
  • Conducts only limited data extraction
  • Uses a smaller team over several weeks, catering for tight deadlines