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Systematic, Scoping, and Rapid Reviews

The Review Process

The following are the basic steps in an evidence synthesis project. There will be some variation depending on the type of review being conducted.

1. Protocol development

  • Define the research question (search for existing reviews and protocols)
  • Define inclusion/exclusion criteria and data extraction plan
  • Draft, test, peer review search
  • Register/ publish the protocol

2. Study identification

  • Conduct database searches
  • Conduct grey literature searching (if applicable)
  • Conduct other study identification methods (forward/backward citation tracing, hand searching)
  • Deduplicate citations

3. Screening (Selecting studies)

  • Pilot test screening using pre-defined eligibility criteria
  • Screen article titles and abstracts
  • Screen full text articles

4. Data extraction

  • Extract relevant data according to pre-defined data extraction plan

5. Critical appraisal (not usually included in scoping reviews)

  • Critically appraise the quality of included studies

6. Synthesis and/or meta-analysis

  • Synthesize your results

7. Reporting results

  • Write up the review according to a relevant reporting guideline, such as PRISMA or PRISMA-ScR