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Systematic Reviews

How long does it take to do a systematic review?

Systematic reviews are time intensive and require a lot of dedicated effort. They are not quick- systematic reviews can take anywhere from 6-18 months, depending on many different factors.

Isn't there a faster way? I don't have that much time!

Systematic reviews and meta-analyses are rigorous review methodologies and require a significant amount of time to conduct. If you need to conduct a review in less time, a different review methodology may be more appropriate, such as a:

  • Traditional narrative review
  • Systematic search and review
  • Rapid review

To compare and contrast these methodologies, please read Grant and Booth's "A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies."

Things to consider for your timeline

There are a variety of different factors to consider when you are developing the timeline for your systematic review. Some of these include:

If you are a faculty member, what is your current teaching load?
If you are a student, what is your current course load?
Do you have any competing priorities for your time?
Are you a faculty member working with students? Are the students familiar with critical analysis of research evidence, or do they need training?
Do you live in an area where there are natural disasters? How could these affect your timeline?
Is everyone on your team on the same page for the timeline and expected completion dates?
Have you communicated your expectations clearly with the rest of your team?

These are just a few factors to consider when determining your timeline, and whether you have the time to commit to a systematic review.

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