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Clinical Trials

Narrative Reviews

"Narrative reviews are usually prepared by experts in the field who draw on their personal reading, experience and judgment to summarize the topic. Thus, a narrative review is neither systematic nor reproducible; different experts may cite different evidence for different reasons"

(Harvey, Lang, & Frank, 2011, p. 110)

Systematic Reviews

"A systematic review is a planned, comprehensive, and reproducible summary of research results on a specified topic" (Harvey, Lang, & Frank, 2011, p. 109)

"Systematic reviews are conducted according to a written protocol, developed in advance, that carefully defines the research question to be addressed, the desired characteristics of the research needed to answer the question, and the details of the search strategies that will be used to find articles reporting this research" (Harvey, Lang, & Frank, 2011, p. 109)


Variations of Systematic Reviews

"Rapid Reviews are abbreviated systematic reviews designed to be completed in a few weeks to a few months"         (Harvey, Lang, & Frank, 2011, p. 110)

"Scoping Reviews assess the general characteristics of a problem. They are a form of 'reconnaissance' or planning done in advance of a full study to help inform its design" (Harvey, Lang, & Frank, 2011, p. 110)

"Realist Reviews are essentially systematic reviews of qualitative data from a variety of sources, including interviews, observations and published research" (Harvey, Lang, & Frank, 2011, p. 110)


Learn more:

University of Manitoba Libraries. Systematic Reviews: information on conducting a systematic review.

Harvey, B. J., Lang, E. S., & Frank, J. R. (2011). The research guide: A primer for residents, other health care trainees, and practitioners. Ottawa, ON: Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

National Research Council. (2011) Standards for Systematic Reviews. In National Research Council, Finding What Works in Health Care: Standards for Systematic Reviews. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2011.

Systematic Reviews Handbook

Systematic Review Tools

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