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Systematic Reviews, Scoping Reviews, and other Knowledge Syntheses

Overview of knowledge syntheses

Types of knowledge syntheses

There are many types of knowledge syntheses and it is important to choose the right type of synthesis for your question. The following resources provide a general overview of the types of knowledge syntheses being used in current research.


This video is the recording of a webinar by Dr. Andrew Booth, describing the different types of reviews.

Booth, A. Fifty shades of review [Internet]. Sheffield: EAHIL. 2016 Nov 24. Video: 70 min

Journal articles on knowledge synthesis

Systematic reviews

Definitions and guidance on conducting systematic reviews.

A systematic review is designed to answer precisely defined, narrow questions and may be limited to specific study designs.

There are many guidebooks to help you through the process of conducting systematic reviews, and these books can also be useful in guiding you through other types of knowledge syntheses. It can be a good place to start for any review.

Articles on types of systematic reviews

These articles provide guidance on specific types of systematic reviews.

Munn Z, Stern C, Aromataris E, Lockwood C, Jordan Z. What kind of systematic review should I conduct? A proposed typology and guidance for systematic reviewers in the medical and health sciences. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2018;18(1):5.

Systematic reviews on adverse effects

Systematic reviews of complex evidence

Systematic reviews of diagnostic test accuracy

Systematic reviews on environmental health sciences

Systematic reviews of genetic association studies

Systematic reviews of prognostic studies

Systematic reviews on Public Health and Health Promotion

Scoping reviews

Definitions and guidance on scoping reviews

A scoping review aims to address broader, more complex, and exploratory research questions where many different study designs may be applicable.

These resources will provide definitions and guidance on how to conduct a scoping review.

Other reviews

Articles on other types of knowledge syntheses

Integrative reviews

Network meta-analyses

Overviews of reviews (Umbrella reviews)

Rapid reviews

Realist reviews

  • The RAMESES Projects - Includes information on publication, quality, and reporting standards -- as well as training materials -- for realist reviews (also called realist syntheses), meta-narrative reviews, and realist evaluation

Contact us


Due to a large influx of requests, there may be an extended wait time for librarian support on knowledge syntheses.


Find a librarian in your subject area to help you with your knowledge synthesis project.


Or contact the librarians at the
Schulich Library of Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Engineering

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