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A Guide to Conducting Reviews: Umbrella Review

This LibGuide outlines some of the common types of reviews including literature, systematic, and scoping reviews, and lists some ways by which University Librarians can assist in conducting such reviews.


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.

Further Reading: e-Books on Umbrella Reviews