Typical rapid review formats

As we’ve mentioned before, rapid reviews don’t necessarily need to follow the format of a typical academic paper.

Formats of rapid reviews have varied over time and from organization to organization. In general, most organizations use an abbreviated, user-centered, reporting format compared to standard systematic review journal format.

The goal is to keep the report simple and concise so that it’s easy for decision-makers to read and use.

Consider creating an executive summary that puts key findings and implications for policy at the beginning of the report. Separate text into digestible pieces that answer specific decision-maker questions. Breaking up text using figures, tables, or images may also help draw the reader into the document and take away key messages. 

But don’t skip your methods section! 

You might be tempted to leave out a description of your process, but this section is crucial for the integrity of your findings. The methods section does not necessarily need to be front and center in your report because decision-makers may not be interested in this section. However, you should put this information somewhere in your document so that it is clear how you conducted your review.

Also, be sure to clearly report and explain the potential consequences of any of the shortcuts you used in your rapid review and whether you anticipate a full systematic review will be forthcoming.