Exactly as the name implies, rapid reviews are reviews done in a short time, in order words quick, fast, etc. There are several reasons why rapid literature reviews may be deemed necessary or appropriate. The most common being:
- Limited human resources or time. Compared to traditional systematic reviews that take at least 6 to 12 months to complete, rapid reviews typically take between 3 weeks to 6 months to complete.
- Urgent need for high-quality evidence by policy makers or stakeholders to inform new and emergent decisions in healthcare settings
- To set the stage for a more comprehensive systematic review
- To map out areas where gap in evidence exist in order to direct future research.
Some of the ways to conduct rapid review in a very limited time, but ensure the quality of evidence and the overall review is assured are:
- Limit the scope of the rapid review making sure that the review question is focused and clearly defined. This approach is very essential as it has a direct impact on the number of articles likely to be retrieved, screened, and included in the review
- Reduce the number of sources searched for potentially relevant literatures. For instance, instead of performing exhaustive electronic database searches, consider limiting the number of electronic sources to be searched whilst hand searching relevant reference lists and journals. You may also consider consultation with experts in the field if they are readily available. If not, eliminate expert consultation as it might be a lengthy process
- Apply restrictions such as language, date, publication type, geographical location, and study design to the search strategy
- Limit the number of items to be extracted by extracting data relevant to the scope of the research question(s).
If you need any support or assistance in conducting your rapid literature review, please get in touch.