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Systematic Review & Evidence Synthesis Information Guide (UAHSL-Tucson)

What is the right type of review to answer your research question?

There are many review types designed to help answer different types of questions - see the first two articles below (Grant and Sutton) for review types to consider. 

INSTRUCTORS: To teach students how to do a systematic review, consider a "systematized review". They include elements of the systematic review process without meeting all of the standards for a systematic review, and may be more appropriate for an individual project, such as a postgraduate student assignment. Systematized reviews are discussed in the Grant article above. Additional options include designing and writing a systematic or scoping review protocol.

For more detailed information about systematic and scoping reviews, see the Munn and Armstrong articles below and the Systematic (or Scoping)  Review Guidance tabs on the left. 

Comparing narrative, systematic, and scoping reviews

Question Can cover a wide range of subjects; may include research Seeks to systematically search for, appraise and synthesize research evidence, adheres to guidelines on conducting a review Assesses size and scope of available and ongoing research
Sources and search Not usually specified, potentially biased Exhaustive and comprehensive sources, explicit search strategy Comprehensiveness determined by time/scope constraints, explicit search strategy.
Selection May or may not be comprehensive. One or more reviewers. Inclusion/exclusion criteria-based selection, consistently applied. Two or more independent reviewers. Inclusion/exclusion criteria-based selection, consistently applied. Two or more independent reviewers.
Appraisal Critical appraisal optional Rigorous critical appraisal, quality may determine inclusion or exclusion Critical appraisal optional
Synthesis Often a narrative summary Quantitative summary, typically narrative with tabular data presentation Typically tabular with some narrative synthesis
Analysis May be chronological, conceptual, thematic, etc. What is known, unknown or uncertain; recommendations for practice and/or future research.  Identify quantity and quality of literature, describe gaps in research 

Based on Grant, M. J., & Booth, A. (2009). A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Health Information and Libraries Journal, 26(2), 91-108.