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Which review is that? A guide to review types.

A typology of literature reviews

Umbrella Review


An umbrella review compiles evidence from multiple existing reviews and is one of the highest levels of evidence. Allowing easy comparison between other individual reviews, the umbrella review may address a broader question and can be useful for comparing interventions and developing guidelines.


Further Reading/Resources

Aromataris, E., Fernandez, R., Godfrey, C., Holly, C., Khalil, H., & Tungpunkom, P. (2014). The Joanna Briggs Institute reviewers’ manual 2014: methodology for JBI umbrella reviews. University of Adelaide: Joanna Briggs Institute. Full Text PDF

Critical Appraisal
Shea, B. J., Grimshaw, J. M., Wells, G. A., Boers, M., Andersson, N., Hamel, C., ... & Bouter, L. M. (2007). Development of AMSTAR: a measurement tool to assess the methodological quality of systematic reviews. BMC medical research methodology, 7(1), 1-7. Full Text

Whiting, P., Savović, J., Higgins, J. P., Caldwell, D. M., Reeves, B. C., Shea, B., ... & Churchill, R. (2016). ROBIS: a new tool to assess risk of bias in systematic reviews was developed. Journal of clinical epidemiology, 69, 225-234. Full Text


Aromataris, E., Fernandez, R., Godfrey, C. M., Holly, C., Khalil, H., & Tungpunkom, P. (2015). Summarizing systematic reviews: methodological development, conduct and reporting of an umbrella review approach. JBI Evidence Implementation, 13(3), 132-140. Full Text

Pollock, M., Fernandes, R. M., Becker, L. A., Pieper, D., & Hartling, L. (2020). Chapter V: overviews of reviews. Cochrane handbook for systematic reviews of interventions version, 6.v Full Text

Pollock, M., Fernandes, R. M., Newton, A. S., Scott, S. D., & Hartling, L. (2019). A decision tool to help researchers make decisions about including systematic reviews in overviews of reviews of healthcare interventions. Systematic reviews, 8(1), 1-8. Full Text

Fusar-Poli, P., & Radua, J. (2018). Ten simple rules for conducting umbrella reviews. Evidence-based mental health, 21(3), 95-100. Full Text

Biondi-Zoccai, G. (Ed.). (2016). Umbrella reviews: evidence synthesis with overviews of reviews and meta-epidemiologic studies. Springer. Catalogue Link



Avşar, T. S., McLeod, H., & Jackson, L. (2021). Health outcomes of smoking during pregnancy and the postpartum period: an umbrella review. BMC pregnancy and childbirth, 21(1), 1-9. Full Text