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Rapid Reviews


When searching for information there are a number of things to consider.

  1. Identify keywords
  2. Databases and search strategies
  3. Grey literature sources
  4. Handsearch for additional resources
  5. Manage results

Levels of evidence

When looking for information, consider the quality or reliability of the level of evidence of the results.

The image below shows the different levels of evidence and where to look for them.

Note this pyramid is mainly focused on medical & social science types of literature. In different fields the types of studies and levels of evidence available may differ. Aim to find the appropriate level of evidence for your discipline. Please ask your Liaison Librarian if you need more assistance.

Higher up the pyramid the amount of available literature on a given topic decreases, but the relevancy and quality of that literature increases. Systematic reviews and meta-analysis are considered to be the highest quality evidence on a research topic because their study design reduces bias and produces more reliable findings.

Source: Levels of Evidence Pyramid Adapted from image created by Andy Puro, September 2014. 

[Click on image to see larger version]

Filtered information sources

Filtered information sources are sources that review, assess and evaluate a range of evidence sources.


Unfiltered information sources

Unfiltered information sources are original research.

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