Definition: A scoping review maps the literature on a research question. Conducting a scoping review uses many of the same methods as a systematic review, such as a comprehensive, replicable search and a systematic screening process. A scoping review systematically and transparently collects and categorizes existing evidence on a broad topic or set of research questions.
Aim: Seeks to identify the nature and extent of research evidence. It also aims to identify research gaps and opportunities for evidence synthesis.
- Define a clear review topic, objective and sub-questions
- Develop a protocol
- Apply PCC (Population or Participants/Concept/Context) framework
- Conduct systematic searches including grey literature
- Screen results for studies that meet your eligibility criteria
- Extract and chart relevant data from the included studies
- Write up the evidence to answer your question
Strengths: Focused and rigorous, a scoping review is able to inform policymakers if a full systematic review is needed. Like systematic reviews, scoping reviews attempt to be systematic, transparent and replicable.
Drawbacks/Limitations: May critically evaluate existing evidence, but does not attempt to synthesize the results in the way a systematic review would. Hence, a scoping review does not include a process of quality assessment. May take longer than a systematic review.