Systematic reviews aim to provide a comprehensive, unbiased synthesis of many relevant studies into a single document using rigorous and transparent methods. A systematic review aims to synthesize and summarize existing knowledge in order to inform policy and practice.
Library support for systematic reviewers
UWA Librarians are not able to construct or execute the search on your behalf or collate results.
Please contact your faculty team to book a consultation with a librarian.
A literature review, or narrative review, is an attempt to obtain and synthesise the results and conclusions of key publications on a given topic. Literature reviews often do not answer one specific question like a systematic review does, and they usually bring together a summary of the literature in a qualitative manner. They may be a first step in determining the current state of the literature on a topic.
A literature review may be undertaken in a systematic way in order to be comprehensive, without being a systematic review. It is important to recognise the differences between the two and determine which type of review is best suited to your needs - or whether one of the other reviews detailed here is more applicable.
Scoping reviews can be used to map the key concepts underpinning a research area as well as to clarify working definitions, and/or the conceptual boundaries of a topic. Scoping reviews may be undertaken as a preliminary exercise prior to the conduct of a systematic review, or as a stand alone review.
Scoping reviews may:
Adapted from: Peters MDJ, Godfrey C, McInerney P, Baldini Soares C, Khalil H, Parker D. Chapter 11: Scoping Reviews. In: Aromataris E, Munn Z (Editors). Joanna Briggs Institute Reviewer's Manual. The Joanna Briggs Institute, 2017. Available from https://reviewersmanual.joannabriggs.org/
You might also like to read the following article for more clarity on the difference between a systematic review and a scoping review:
Munn Z, Peters MDJ, Stern C, Tufanaru C, McArthur A, Aromataris E. Systematic review or scoping review? Guidance for authors when choosing between a systematic or scopus review approach. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2018;18:143.
Rapid reviews are a form of accelerated systematic review. They are usually undertaken when decision makers have urgent and emerging needs which require evidence produced on a short time frame. Typically, to compensate for the short time frame of a rapid review, methodological rigour may be sacrificed. For example, the grey literature may not be sought and preference may be given to the more readily available research published and written in English.
Adapted from: Rapid reviews. HLWIKI International. 2017.
Umbrella reviews are sometimes referred to as a "review of reviews". They are an attempt to identify and appraise, extract and summarise all the evidence from research syntheses related to a topic or question.
Umbrella reviews may:
Umbrella reviews offer the possibility to address a broad scope of issues related to the topic of interest.
Adapted from: Aromataris E, Fernandez R, Godfrey C, Holly C, Khalil H, Tungpunkom P. Chapter 10: Umbrella Reviews. In: Aromataris E, Munn Z (Editors). Joanna Briggs Institute Reviewer's Manual. The Joanna Briggs Institute, 2017. Available from https://reviewersmanual.joannabriggs.org/