An introduction to rapid reviews: developing timely evidence summaries for decision makers (a Cochrane Rapid Reviews Methods Group (RRMG) workshop)

Core Methods Workshop

Workshop category: 

  • Other review formats (e.g. overviews of reviews, network meta-analysis)
Date and Location


Wednesday 23 October 2019 - 14:00 to 15:30


Contact persons and facilitators

Contact person:


Stevens A1, Garritty C2, Nussbaumer-Streit B3
1 Cochrane Rapid Reviews Methods Group, Canada
2 Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Cochrane Rapid Reviews Methods Group, Canada
3 Cochrane Austria, Cochrane Rapid Reviews Methods Group, Austria


Gartlehner G1, King V2, Kamel C3
1 Cochrane Austria, Austria
2 Oregon Health & Science University, United States
3 Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health, Canada
Target audience

Target audience: 

Open to attendees who want to learn about the production of rapid reviews, including methodologists, systematic review authors, guideline developers, policy makers, and patients/consumers

Level of difficulty: 

Type of workshop

Type of workshop : 



Background: rapid reviews are increasingly used as a research synthesis tool to support timely evidence-informed decision making. However, the methodology used to develop rapid reviews is still emerging.

Objectives: this introductory workshop aims to:
1) introduce the concept of rapid reviews as differentiated from traditional systematic reviews;
2) impart an understanding of the utility of rapid reviews as an evidence synthesis product;
3) give a high-level overview of methodological approaches to rapid reviews based on streamlining Cochrane’s gold-standard systematic review methodology;
4) discuss challenges rapid reviews present, including methodological and logistical issues; and
5) inform participants about ongoing rapid review initiatives, including possible tools that will enable production of more transparent and timely reviews.

Description: this session will be a mixture of presentations and small group work (combined 75 minutes). We will address technical aspects of conduct, report layout and customization, transparency, and involvement of decision makers. We will also cover appropriateness in undertaking a rapid review and understanding the importance of managing scope through conduct. We intend to use an online polling tool that will allow facilitators to engage and interact with participants, using their device of choice, in real-time throughout the session, with the aim of fostering discussion and assessing their knowledge of rapid reviews. Attendees will complete an exercise in which they will be asked to assess and discuss the attributes of a sampling of rapid reviews to highlight the possible approaches to rapid review conduct. The session will end with a short quiz to cover the key take-home messages and answer remaining questions (15 minutes).