Length of time

The time it takes to conduct a systematic review will depend on how much evidence exists, the kind of questions you’re asking, how much help you have and whether you need to ask for additional information from researchers who conducted the primary studies.

It is possible to conduct a review in a very short time, even just a few days, but that’s when the question is narrow, the researchers know where to search, they find only a few papers, and the end product is a simple analysis or description of the findings.

Many researchers working in small teams can do a review in a couple of months, even shorter if they work on the project full time.

But, in general a comprehensive review on a topic with multiple questions for a paying sponsor will take you much longer. CESH can conduct “rapid turnaround” systematic reviews in about four months. These reviews require a lot of effort from our team and are only possible if the systematic review is fairly straightforward.

A typical systematic review for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) can take 42 to 58 weeks.