Centre for Information and Reviews

Literature reviews

Overview | Full systematic literature reviews | Rapid evidence assessments
Rapid reviews and scoping studies | Bespoke review services

Rapid reviews and scoping studies

Rapid reviews offer a quick overview of a specific topic and can be extremely useful to give an insight into issues, policy and/or practice in a particular subject area. Literature is located through limited searching and can be based on research literature, policy or practice evidence. Rapid reviews can be invaluable if you are not familiar with an area and need to commission a very quick piece of research to give you some background. Although a rapid review will not give you a definitive, exhaustive review of the evidence base, nor will it exclude all bias, it will gather and review evidence in a streamlined systematic way in the time available and produce an overview report outlining key points in a format which is easy to understand and digest.

A scoping study also gives a quick overview of a particular area but is used to map or demonstrate how much evidence is available. As scoping studies identify the range of literature available on a certain subject, they can be used to make the case for a rapid evidence assessment or full systematic literature review. Scoping studies provide a map of the literature without synthesising the evidence within each item. Information Sources for the Local Children and Young People's Services Sector: a Mapping Study provides an example of a bespoke scoping/mapping review carried out for the Local Government Association.

For more information on our literature review work, please have a look at our reviews brochure.