According to Colquhoun et al. (2014), a scoping study can be defined as: "a form of knowledge synthesis, which incorporate a range of study designs to comprehensively summarize and synthesize evidence with the aim of informing practice, programs, and policy and providing direction to future research priorities" (p. 1291).
Similar to systematic reviews, scoping reviews follow a step-by-step process and aim to be transparent and replicable in its methods
Allows you to "map a body of literature with relevance to time, location (e.g. country or context), source (e.g. peer-reviewed or grey literature), and origin (e.g. healthcare discipline or academic field)" (Peters et al., 2015, p. 142).
Scoping reviews are typically used "to clarify working definitions and conceptual boundaries of a topic or field" (Peters et al., 2015, p. 141).
Scoping reviews can be useful when reviewing topics that aren't conducive to systematic reviews such as when the literature on a topic is complex or heterogeneous
Scoping reviews can be conducted "to summarize and disseminate research findings, to identify research gaps, and to make recommendations for future research" (Peters et al., 2015, p. 141).
The following resources provide methods and guidance in the field of scoping reviews:
METHODS & GUIDANCE
Cochrane Training: Scoping reviews: what they are and how you can do them - A series of videos presented by Dr Andrea C. Tricco and Kafayat Oboirien. Learn the about what a scoping review is, see examples, learn the steps involved, and common methods from Dr. Tricco. Oboirien presents her experiences of conducting a scoping review on strengthening clinical governance in low and middle income countries.
Current Best Practices for the Conduct of Scoping Reviews by Heather Colquhoun - An overview on best practices when executing a scoping review.
Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) Reviewer's Manual. Chapter 11: Scoping Reviews - An extensive and detailed outline within the JBI Reviewer's Manual on how to properly conduct a scoping review.
PRISMA for Scoping Reviews - Contains a 20-item checklist for proper reporting of a scoping review plus 2 optional items.
Check out the supplementary resources page for additional information, including articles, on scoping reviews.
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