Definition: Also known as 'review of reviews', an umbrella review allows the findings of reviews relevant to a review question to be compared and contrasted. Often defines a broader question than is typical of a traditional systematic review. Most useful when there are competing interventions to consider.
Aim: To determine what is known on a topic, what remains unknown, and recommendations are made for what requires future research.
Key characteristics: Considers for inclusion only the highest level of incidence namely other systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Focuses on broad condition or problem for which there are competing interventions and highlights reviews that address these interventions and their results.
Strengths: Compiles evidence from multiple reviews into one accessible and usable document.
Drawbacks/Limitations: For an umbrella review to be useful requires the pre-existence of the narrower component reviews.