Irma Klerings et al.
This paper is part of a series of methodological guidance from the Cochrane Rapid Reviews Methods Group. Rapid reviews (RR) use modified systematic review methods to accelerate the review process while maintaining systematic, transparent, and reproducible methods. In this paper, we address considerations for RR searches. We cover the main areas relevant to the search process: preparation and planning, information sources and search methods, search strategy development, quality assurance, reporting, and record management. Two options exist for abbreviating the search process: (1) reducing time spent conducting searches and (2) reducing the size of the search result. Because screening search results is usually more resource-intensive than conducting the search, we suggest investing time upfront in planning and optimising the search to save time by reducing the literature screening workload. To achieve this goal, RR teams should work with an information specialist. They should select a small number of relevant information sources (eg, databases) and use search methods that are highly likely to identify relevant literature for their topic. Database search strategies should aim to optimise both precision and sensitivity, and quality assurance measures (peer review and validation of search strategies) should be applied to minimise errors.
WHAT IS ALREADY KNOWN ON THIS TOPIC
Compared with systematic reviews, rapid reviews (RR) often abbreviate or limit the literature search in some way to accelerate review production. However, RR guidance rarely specifies how to select topic-appropriate search approaches.
WHAT THIS STUDY ADDS
This paper presents an overview of considerations and recommendations for RR searching, covering the complete search process from the planning stage to record management. We also provide extensive appendices with practical examples, useful sources and a glossary of terms.
HOW THIS STUDY MIGHT AFFECT RESEARCH, PRACTICE OR POLICY
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for RR literature searching: review teams should consider what search approaches best fit their RR project.
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