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Scoping Reviews: Overview

Learn how the library can support you with your scoping review.

What is a Scoping Review?

A scoping review is a study that aims "to map the literature on a particular topic or research area and provide an opportunity to identify key concepts; gaps in the research; and types and sources of evidence to inform practice, policymaking, and research."

Daudt HM, van Mossel C, Scott SJ. Enhancing the scoping study methodology: a large, inter-professional team's experience with Arksey and O'Malley's framework. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2013 Mar 23;13:48. doi: 10.1186/1471-2288-13-48. PMID: 23522333; PMCID: PMC3614526.

Table 1 Defining characteristics of traditional literature reviews, scoping reviews and systematic reviews

Source:  Munn, Z., Peters, M.D.J., Stern, C. et al. Systematic review or scoping review? Guidance for authors when choosing between a systematic or scoping review approach. BMC Med Res Methodol 18,143 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12874-018-0611-x is licensed under CC BY 4.0 (http//creativecommons.org/licenses/by4.0)

Indications for a Scoping Review vs a Systematic Review

SCOPING REVIEW SYSTEMATIC REVIEW
To identify the types of available evidence in a given field Uncover the international evidence
To clarify key concepts/ definitions in the literature Confirm current practice/ address any variation/ identify new practices
To examine how research is conducted on a certain topic or field Identify and inform areas for future research
To identify key characteristics or factors related to a concept Identify and investigate conflicting results
As a precursor to a systematic review Produce statements to guide decision-making
To identify and analyze knowledge gaps  

Source:  Munn, Z., Peters, M.D.J., Stern, C. et al. Systematic review or scoping review? Guidance for authors when choosing between a systematic or scoping review approach. BMC Med Res Methodol 18,143 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12874-018-0611-x is licensed under CC BY 4.0 (http//creativecommons.org/licenses/by4.0)

Scoping Reviews - videos from Cochrane

Scoping reviews: what they are and how you can do them: videos from a Cochrane Learning Live Webinar.  Presents an overview of scoping reviews and includes examples, steps of the scoping review process, and methods used in scoping reviews from the literature.

Ask a Librarian

Work with a librarian on your next scoping review! Request an appointment to meet with us. 


Need assistance with library resources or services? Ask a librarian! We are available via chat, email, phone or texting during staffed hours. 

Other types of reviews

Rapid review -  A rapid review is like an accelerated systematic review.  It may take 2-4 months to complete. While it assesses the evidence, it lacks the rigor of a full systematic review.

 

Definitions for various types of reviews are available from Grant MJ, Booth A. A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Health Info Libr J. 2009 Jun;26(2):91-108. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-1842.2009.00848.x. Review. PubMed PMID: 19490148

What is a Meta-Analysis?

A meta-analysis uses statistical methods to combine information from a number of separate but similar studies and derive conclusions on that subject. 

What is a Literature Review?

A literature review intends to provide an overview of a subject.  It does not include a systematic search of the literature or a description of the methods used in the review and is sometimes based on author experience.  These reviews may be subject to bias. 

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