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Comparison with systematic review

Limitations of a rapid review

Rapid Reviews are best designed for:

New or emerging research topics, updates of previous reviews, critical topics, to assess what is already known about a policy or practice using some systematic review methods. 


  • Search is not as comprehensive
  • In come cases, there may only be one reviewer
  • Possible non-blinded appraisal and selection
  • Limited/cautious interpretation of the findings
  • No universally accepted definition of a "rapid review"
  • Be mindful of limitations and potential biases when cutting corners
  • Can impact policy and practice but systematic reviews are still needed
  • You still need a content expert and those experienced with systematic reviews

(Source: Cochrane: Rapid Reviews-An Introduction (2014))



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Danila Durante
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Other names for a rapid review

Rapid Evidence Review

Rapid Evidence Assessment

Rapid Systematic Review

Expedited Review

Rapid Evidence Summary

How to write a rapid review


Dobbins, M. (2017). Rapid review guidebook. Natl. Collab. Cent. Method Tools13, 25.Full text

Garritty, C., Gartlehner, G., Nussbaumer-Streit, B., King, V. J., Hamel, C., Kamel, C., ... & Stevens, A. (2020). Cochrane Rapid Reviews Methods Group offers evidence-informed guidance to conduct rapid reviews. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. Full text

Khangura, S., Konnyu, K., Cushman, R., Grimshaw, J., & Moher, D. (2012). Evidence summaries: the evolution of a rapid review approach. Systematic reviews1(1), 1-9. Full text

Tricco, A. C., Langlois, E., Straus, S. E., & World Health Organization. (2017). Rapid reviews to strengthen health policy and systems: a practical guide. World Health Organization. Full text

Tricco, A. C., Straus, S. E., Ghaffar, A., & Langlois, E. V. (2022). Rapid reviews for health policy and systems decision-making: more important than ever before. Systematic Reviews11(1), 1-4. Full text