An international survey and modified Delphi approach revealed numerous rapid review methods

J Clin Epidemiol. 2016 Feb;70:61-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2015.08.012. Epub 2015 Aug 29.


Objectives: To solicit experiences with and perceptions of rapid reviews from stakeholders, including researchers, policy makers, industry, journal editors, and health care providers.

Study design and setting: An international survey of rapid review producers and modified Delphi.

Results: Forty rapid review producers responded on our survey (63% response rate). Eighty-eight rapid reviews with 31 different names were reported. Rapid review commissioning organizations were predominantly government (78%) and health care (58%) organizations. Several rapid review approaches were identified, including updating the literature search of previous reviews (92%); limiting the search strategy by date of publication (88%); and having only one reviewer screen (85%), abstract data (84%), and assess the quality of studies (86%). The modified Delphi included input from 113 stakeholders on the rapid review approaches from the survey. Approach 1 (search limited by date and language; study selection by one reviewer only, and data abstraction and quality appraisal conducted by one reviewer and one verifier) was ranked the most feasible (72%, 81/113 responses), with the lowest perceived risk of bias (12%, 12/103); it also ranked second in timeliness (37%, 38/102) and fifth in comprehensiveness (5%, 5/100).

Conclusion: Rapid reviews have many names and approaches, and some methods might be more desirable than others.

Keywords: Consensus; Delphi; Knowledge synthesis; Rapid review; Survey; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Delphi Technique*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination*
  • Internationality*
  • Review Literature as Topic*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires