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Table 1 A comparison of systematic, rapid and scoping literature review

From: Advancing methodology for scoping reviews: recommendations arising from a scoping literature review (SLR) to inform transformation of Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services

Review type Aims Research question/ scope Process Literature searches Inclusion criteria Quality of evidence Bias Reviewers
Systematic To inform clinical practice. Narrow and well-defined. Explicit, predefined, sequential process rigorously followed. As exhaustive as possible; using pre-defined search strategy. Predefined, (PICOS criteria) Quality of evidence assessed and reported. Systematic, explicit methods to minimize bias. Requires at least two reviewers for study selection, data extraction and quality appraisal.
Rapid To inform service provision; caution when informing clinical practice. Narrow and well-defined. ‘Trimmed down’ systematic review process; shortcuts to minimise resources used. Reduced list of sources searched; using search tools that facilitate finding literature. Predefined, (PICOS criteria). Quality of evidence assessed and reported. Shortcuts may introduce bias. Does not require two reviewers for study selection, data extraction and quality appraisal.
Scoping To map evidence, identify knowledge gaps, inform policy and practice. Broader, initially parameters may not be clearly defined (e.g. type of intervention). Iterative process, no formal requirement to include all steps. Focus on comprehensiveness and breadth when defining search terms and sources. Can be altered at later stages. Often developed post-hoc as reviewers become more familiar with available evidence. No requirement to assess the quality of evidence. Omitting/ altering steps may introduce bias. Required number of reviewers not specified.