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Table 6 Guidance provided in development papers on rapid reviews

From: A scoping review of rapid review methods

Author, year

Overall approach to the rapid review


Literature search


Data abstraction

Risk of bias


Dissemination/knowledge translation

Best, 1997

Use a fixed structure

Identified by purchasers and providers

Electronic databases and grey literature

Not reported

Limit the outcomes to cost-effectiveness

Not reported

Descriptive. Focus on benefits/disbenefits and costs/savings

Report provided to the committee who meets every 3 months to make decisions

Abrami, 2010

Use of a larger staff to conduct the review in a timelier manner. Use of tools to make the process more efficient

Specific research question

Updating or expanding an existing review

Use strict inclusion criteria. Only screen a random sample of results. Bypassing steps that check for inter-rater agreement

Not reported

Not reported

Descriptive only. Use of vote counting. Charting results only

Not reported

Bambra, 2010

Not reported

Limited scope

Rapid search of the literature to limited key words and databases. Restrict searches by date, accessibility, and policy relevance

Not reported

Not reported

Appraise evidence

Develop key recommendations

Refine key recommendations using a Delphi approach with end-users

Jahangirian, 2011

Incremental and iterative

Not reported

Forward citation searching and backward citation searchinga

3-stage screening phase (filtering, sampling, and sifting)

Use graphical tools that allow the charting of the literature

Not reported

Not reported

Not reported

Khangura, 2012

Work closely with end-users using integrated knowledge translation

1–2 hours to refine question with policy-makers. Iterative process

Targeted literature searches. Includes published and unpublished literature. Focus inclusion on systematic reviews

Limited to English. Liberal acceleratedb

Not reported

Use the level of evidence based on a modified framework established by the Cochrane Musculoskeletal Group

Descriptive synthesis only. Concise report; 1-page brief

Collaborative approach. Use feedback on previous products to improve future products

Thigpen, 2012

Work closely with end-users using integrated knowledge translation

Consult with end-user to decide on the topic

Internal and external experts engaged to focus literature search

Researchers and end-users engaged in establishing relevance

Focus on common components and key messages

Not reported

Distill the research literature

Interpretation guided by end-users to ensure relevance, understanding, and actionable knowledge. Use of 2–4-paged user-friendly briefs

Thomas, 2013

Require an experienced team in systematic reviews to conduct the rapid reviews. Prioritize rapid reviews for urgent decisions

Clearly defined. Limited scope. Limiting stakeholder involvement to provide insight into the question and protocol

Targeted searches of key databases

Limiting inclusion to English papers. Only one person screens the literature results and another screens random sample or list of excludes

Mapping study characteristics. Focusing abstraction on key interventions and specific study designs

Selecting key elements of quality appraisal tools and only appraising these

Use a framework synthesis

Not reported

  1. aForward citation searching, searching for papers that cite the included studies; backward citation searching, scanning the references of the included studies; bLiberal accelerated, having a second reviewer screen the list of excluded studies.