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Scoping Review

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A scoping review is a systematic method used to map and summarize existing literature on a particular topic or research area. It aims to identify the key concepts, theories, sources, and knowledge gaps in the field.

Here’s how it generally works:

  1. Identifying the Research Question: Define the scope and objectives of the review. What specific area or topic are you exploring?
  2. Search Strategy: Develop a comprehensive search strategy using multiple databases, keywords, and criteria relevant to your research question.
  3. Study Selection: Screen and select studies based on predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria. This process involves several stages to ensure the relevance of the studies.
  4. Data Extraction: Extract and chart the relevant information from selected studies. This could include key findings, methodologies, participant characteristics, and other pertinent details.
  5. Data Synthesis: Summarize and analyze the findings. Common methods include thematic analysis, categorization, or creating visual representations (like charts or diagrams) to present the results.
  6. Reporting: Present the findings in a clear and organized manner. This could involve a narrative summary, tables, graphs, or other visual aids.

Scoping reviews differ from systematic reviews in that they often have broader research questions and may include various study designs rather than focusing solely on randomized control trials or specific methodologies. They are valuable for providing an overview of existing literature and identifying areas that require further investigation.

What is concept in scoping review?

In a scoping review, a “concept” refers to a specific idea, theme, or element within the scope of the review’s research question or objective. Concepts represent the building blocks that help structure the exploration and analysis of the literature in the chosen field.

When conducting a scoping review, researchers identify key concepts related to their topic of interest. These concepts could be broad or specific, depending on the research focus. For instance, if the review is about mental health interventions in schools, concepts might include:

  1. Types of Interventions: Such as counseling programs, mindfulness activities, or peer support initiatives.
  2. Population: Students of different age groups or specific demographics.
  3. Outcomes: Improvement in academic performance, reduction in stress levels, or behavioral changes.
  4. Settings: Urban vs. rural schools, public vs. private institutions.

Each of these concepts represents a dimension or aspect of the overall research question. Researchers use these concepts as a framework to guide the search for relevant literature and to organize the findings during the review process.

By identifying and categorizing these concepts, researchers can systematically map out the existing knowledge, identify gaps, and provide a comprehensive overview of the literature available on the topic.

What is the basic difference between systematic review and scoping review?

Systematic reviews and scoping reviews are both rigorous methods used in research, but they differ in their objectives, approaches, and depth of analysis.

Systematic Review:

  • Objective: A systematic review aims to answer a specific research question by comprehensively gathering, appraising, and synthesizing existing evidence from studies that meet predefined criteria.
  • Approach: It follows a strict and structured methodology, including detailed criteria for study selection, data extraction, and quality assessment.
  • Depth: Focuses on specific research questions or hypotheses and typically includes a meta-analysis to quantitatively combine results from different studies if appropriate.
  • Outcome: Provides a precise summary of the current state of knowledge on a narrowly defined topic, often used to inform clinical practice or policy decisions.

Scoping Review:

  • Objective: A scoping review aims to map and explore the breadth of literature available on a broader topic area, often without answering a specific research question. It seeks to identify key concepts, sources, and gaps in the literature.
  • Approach: It is more exploratory and iterative, allowing for flexibility in study selection and data extraction. It might include various study designs and sources to provide a comprehensive overview.
  • Depth: Focuses on identifying the main themes, concepts, and knowledge gaps rather than synthesizing or analyzing the data in-depth.
  • Outcome: Provides a broad overview of the existing literature, highlighting areas for further research and potential directions for systematic reviews or other studies.

In essence, a systematic review dives deep into a specific research question, following a structured approach to synthesize and analyze data, while a scoping review offers a broader overview, aiming to map the literature landscape and identify gaps or areas requiring more focused investigation.

Both types of reviews serve valuable purposes in research, with systematic reviews providing detailed, evidence-based answers to specific questions and scoping reviews offering a broader understanding of the available literature and research landscape.

What do you write in a scoping review?

In a scoping review, your writing should follow a structured approach that allows you to present a comprehensive overview of the existing literature on a particular topic. Here’s a general outline of what to include:

  1. Introduction:
    • Provide an overview of the topic and explain why it’s important or relevant.
    • Clearly state the objectives and scope of the scoping review.
    • Define key terms or concepts relevant to the review.
  2. Methodology:
    • Describe the search strategy used to identify relevant studies, including databases, keywords, and inclusion/exclusion criteria.
    • Explain the selection process for studies and any methods used to ensure rigor and reliability.
    • Discuss how the data were extracted and synthesized.
  3. Results:
    • Present the findings based on the identified literature.
    • Organize the results based on key themes, concepts, or categories. Use tables, charts, or diagrams to illustrate the overview of the literature.
    • Highlight the main sources, types of studies, and trends within the literature.
  4. Discussion:
    • Interpret and discuss the findings in relation to the research objectives.
    • Identify gaps, inconsistencies, or areas where research is lacking.
    • Discuss the implications of the findings for practice, policy, or further research.
    • Consider the strengths and limitations of the scoping review methodology.
  5. Conclusion:
    • Summarize the key findings and their implications.
    • Highlight the significance of the scoping review in addressing the research question or mapping the literature landscape.
    • Offer recommendations for future research directions based on identified gaps.

Throughout the writing process, maintain clarity, coherence, and consistency. Use appropriate citations and references to support your findings and ensure the credibility of your review. Additionally, consider the audience for your review—whether it’s researchers, practitioners, policymakers, or a broader audience—and tailor your language and presentation accordingly.

What is the aim of scoping review?

The aim of a scoping review is to provide a comprehensive overview and map of existing literature on a particular topic or research area. Unlike systematic reviews that focus on specific research questions or hypotheses, the primary goal of a scoping review is to:

  1. Map the Literature Landscape: Identify and catalog existing evidence, concepts, sources, and knowledge gaps within a broader field or topic.
  2. Explore the Scope of Available Research: Capture the breadth and depth of available literature, including various study designs, methodologies, and sources.
  3. Identify Key Concepts and Themes: Systematically categorize and present the main concepts, ideas, or themes that emerge from the literature.
  4. Clarify Concepts and Definitions: Define key terms and concepts related to the topic area, promoting a shared understanding within the research community.
  5. Inform Further Research: Highlight areas where further investigation or systematic reviews are warranted, guiding future research directions and identifying gaps in knowledge.
  6. Support Decision-Making: Provide a basis for decision-making in practice, policy, or academia by offering an overview of the current state of knowledge in a particular field.

In essence, a scoping review aims to map out the territory of a research area, offering a broad perspective on the existing literature, key themes, and gaps in knowledge. It serves as a valuable tool to inform researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and other stakeholders about the extent and nature of available evidence within a specific domain.

What are the six steps of scoping review?

Certainly! The steps involved in conducting a scoping review typically include:

  1. Identifying the Research Question or Objective:
    • Define the scope and purpose of the scoping review. This involves clarifying the research question or objective that guides the review.
  2. Identifying Relevant Studies:
    • Develop a comprehensive search strategy. This includes determining databases, keywords, and other sources to search for relevant literature related to the research question.
  3. Study Selection:
    • Screen and select studies based on predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria. This involves multiple stages of screening to ensure the relevance of the studies to the review’s objectives.
  4. Charting the Data:
    • Extract and compile relevant information from the selected studies. This includes key findings, methodologies, participant characteristics, and other pertinent details. Using tables or other frameworks can help organize this information.
  5. Collating, Summarizing, and Reporting the Results:
    • Analyze the extracted data to identify key themes, concepts, or patterns within the literature. Summarize the findings and present them in a clear and organized manner.
  6. Consultation and Stakeholder Involvement (Optional):
    • In some cases, scoping reviews may involve consultation with stakeholders, experts, or the intended audience to ensure that the review addresses relevant concerns and captures important aspects of the topic.

These steps are iterative and may involve revisiting earlier stages as the review progresses. The goal is to systematically map the existing literature, identify key concepts, and provide a comprehensive overview of the topic area while addressing the research objectives set at the beginning of the review.

What is an example of a scoping review question?

Certainly! Here’s an example of a scoping review question:

“In the field of mental health interventions for children and adolescents, what is known about the effectiveness of various non-pharmacological interventions in school settings?”

This scoping review question is broad and aims to map the available literature on non-pharmacological interventions specifically within school settings for children and adolescents dealing with mental health issues. It doesn’t focus on a specific intervention or outcome but rather seeks to explore the breadth of available literature on this topic.

Such a question allows researchers to systematically search for and summarize a wide range of interventions (e.g., counseling programs, mindfulness practices, peer support initiatives) without being restricted to particular study designs or specific outcomes. The goal is to provide a comprehensive overview of the existing evidence, identify key concepts and approaches, and highlight gaps or areas requiring further investigation.

Are scoping reviews qualitative?

Scoping reviews are not inherently qualitative or quantitative in nature; rather, they can incorporate both qualitative and quantitative studies, as well as mixed-methods research.

The primary goal of a scoping review is to comprehensively map and summarize the available literature on a specific topic or research area. Therefore, the inclusion of studies in a scoping review can encompass various types of research designs, including qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-methods studies.

During the process of conducting a scoping review, researchers aim to identify and synthesize evidence from a wide range of sources to provide an overview of the existing knowledge landscape. This might include:

  1. Qualitative Studies: These studies explore attitudes, experiences, and perspectives using methods like interviews, observations, or content analysis.
  2. Quantitative Studies: These studies involve numerical data, statistical analyses, and experiments to quantify relationships, outcomes, or phenomena.
  3. Mixed-Methods Studies: These studies integrate both qualitative and quantitative approaches to provide a more comprehensive understanding of a research question.

The emphasis in a scoping review is on mapping the literature, categorizing key concepts or themes, and identifying gaps in knowledge rather than conducting a detailed analysis or synthesis of the findings as in a systematic review. Therefore, the review can encompass a broad array of study designs and methods without necessarily prioritizing one over the other.

What are the limitations of scoping review?

Scoping reviews are valuable for mapping the breadth of existing literature on a topic, but they also come with certain limitations:

  1. Lack of Depth in Analysis: Scoping reviews focus on breadth rather than depth, so they may not provide detailed analysis or synthesis of the literature compared to systematic reviews.
  2. Quality Assessment Challenges: Assessing the quality of included studies might be limited or less rigorous in scoping reviews compared to systematic reviews, as the primary aim is to map the literature rather than evaluate study quality.
  3. Potential for Bias: The inclusion criteria might be less stringent compared to systematic reviews, which could lead to the inadvertent inclusion of biased or low-quality studies.
  4. Heterogeneity of Included Studies: Scoping reviews often encompass diverse study designs and methodologies, which can make it challenging to compare or synthesize findings across different types of studies.
  5. Limited Conclusion Drawing: Due to the broad nature of scoping reviews, drawing firm conclusions or making recommendations for practice might be challenging compared to more focused systematic reviews.
  6. Publication Bias: There might be a tendency to include published literature more than unpublished or grey literature, leading to potential publication bias.
  7. Time and Resource Intensive: Conducting a scoping review can be time-consuming and resource-intensive, especially when dealing with a large volume of literature.
  8. Evolution of Research: Literature is constantly evolving, and scoping reviews might become outdated relatively quickly, necessitating frequent updates or additional reviews.

Despite these limitations, scoping reviews play a crucial role in synthesizing diverse literature, identifying gaps, and providing an overview of a research area, offering valuable insights for future research and informing the development of systematic reviews or practice guidelines.

Do scoping reviews include systematic reviews?

Yes, scoping reviews can include systematic reviews as part of their literature inclusion criteria.

Since the goal of a scoping review is to provide a broad overview and map the existing literature on a specific topic or research area, it often aims to encompass a wide range of studies, including systematic reviews. Systematic reviews themselves gather and synthesize existing evidence on a focused research question using a systematic and rigorous methodology.

Including systematic reviews in a scoping review can serve several purposes:

  1. Understanding Existing Syntheses: Incorporating systematic reviews allows scoping reviewers to identify and summarize the findings and conclusions of existing systematic reviews on the topic.
  2. Mapping the Landscape: Systematic reviews often highlight key studies and evidence. Including them in a scoping review helps to map the breadth and depth of the available evidence.
  3. Identifying Gaps or Areas for Further Investigation: Reviewing existing systematic reviews within a scoping review can reveal gaps, inconsistencies, or areas where further research or updated reviews are needed.

However, it’s essential to have clear inclusion criteria and methods for selecting systematic reviews in a scoping review, as well as to transparently report their inclusion and findings within the broader mapping of the literature.

What is the best journal for scoping review?

There isn’t a single “best” journal for publishing scoping reviews, as the choice of journal often depends on various factors including the specific field or discipline, the focus of the scoping review, and the target audience. However, there are several reputable journals that commonly publish scoping reviews across different subject areas:

  1. Journal of Advanced Nursing: Focuses on nursing research and often publishes scoping reviews in healthcare and nursing-related fields.
  2. Systematic Reviews: This journal, as the name suggests, primarily focuses on systematic reviews but also considers publishing scoping reviews that contribute to the field of evidence synthesis.
  3. BMJ Open: An open-access journal that covers a wide range of medical and health sciences topics and often publishes systematic and scoping reviews.
  4. Research Synthesis Methods: A journal dedicated to methodological advancements in evidence synthesis, which can include scoping reviews among other methodologies.
  5. PLoS ONE: An open-access journal that covers various disciplines and often publishes reviews, including scoping reviews, across different fields of research.
  6. Frontiers in Public Health: A multidisciplinary journal that accepts a wide range of article types, including systematic and scoping reviews in public health and related areas.

When considering where to submit a scoping review, it’s essential to review the scope, aims, and previous publications of the journal to ensure alignment with the content and objectives of your scoping review. Additionally, it’s advisable to check the submission guidelines and requirements of the chosen journal to ensure your manuscript meets their criteria.

Do you need two reviewers for scoping review?

The requirement for two reviewers in a scoping review, as in any research review, can depend on the specific guidelines of the journal or the standards set by the research team or institution conducting the review. Generally, scoping reviews benefit from having multiple reviewers for certain key stages of the review process.

While scoping reviews may involve a broad search and mapping of literature, employing multiple reviewers can enhance the rigor and reliability of the review by:

  1. Study Selection: Having two or more reviewers independently screen and select studies based on predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria helps reduce bias and ensure that relevant studies are included.
  2. Data Extraction: Multiple reviewers can independently extract data from selected studies, reducing the likelihood of errors and increasing the reliability of the extracted information.
  3. Quality Assessment (if applicable): If quality assessment of studies is part of the scoping review process, involving multiple reviewers in assessing study quality can enhance the consistency and reliability of the evaluations.

However, it’s important to consider practical constraints such as resources, time, and availability of qualified reviewers. Some scoping reviews might be conducted by a single reviewer or a team that collaborates at various stages of the review process. Transparency in reporting the review methodology, including details about the number of reviewers involved and their processes, is crucial to ensure the credibility of the review.

In summary, while there isn’t a strict requirement for two reviewers in a scoping review, involving multiple reviewers, especially for critical stages of the review process, can enhance the reliability and credibility of the findings.

How do you write a scoping review protocol?


Writing a scoping review protocol involves detailing the planned methodology, objectives, and procedures that will guide the scoping review process. Here are the key steps to create a scoping review protocol:

  1. Title and Introduction:
    • Provide a clear and descriptive title for the scoping review protocol.
    • Introduce the topic, rationale, and significance of conducting the scoping review.
  2. Objective and Research Questions:
    • Clearly state the primary objectives and specific research questions that the scoping review aims to address.
  3. Methodology:
    • Outline the methodology and approach to be used in conducting the scoping review. Include details about:
      • Search strategy: Databases, keywords, and other sources to be utilized.
      • Inclusion and exclusion criteria for selecting studies.
      • Data extraction methods and tools.
      • Approach to data synthesis and analysis.
      • Quality assessment (if applicable) and how it will be integrated into the review process.
      • Consider referencing established scoping review frameworks or guidelines, such as the PRISMA-ScR (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews) checklist.
  4. Data Management and Analysis:
    • Describe how the extracted data will be managed, organized, and analyzed. This includes methods for charting and synthesizing the findings.
  5. Search Strategy:
    • Detail the planned search strategy, including databases, search terms, and any additional sources to be used. This should be transparent and reproducible.
  6. Study Selection Process:
    • Clearly define the process for study selection, screening, and inclusion/exclusion criteria to ensure consistency and reliability.
  7. Data Extraction Framework:
    • Develop a structured framework or data extraction form that outlines the information to be extracted from included studies. This can include details such as study characteristics, key findings, methodologies, etc.
  8. Timeline and Resources:
    • Provide an estimated timeline for each stage of the review process and detail the resources required, including personnel, software, and other tools.
  9. Ethical Considerations (if applicable):
    • Address any ethical considerations related to the review process, such as obtaining permissions or handling sensitive data.
  10. References:
    • Include a list of references relevant to the scoping review protocol, such as previous scoping reviews, methodology papers, or guidelines.
  11. Review and Approval:
    • Consider having the protocol reviewed by colleagues, mentors, or experts in the field to ensure completeness and feasibility.

Creating a well-defined protocol helps maintain methodological rigor and transparency throughout the scoping review process. It serves as a roadmap for conducting the review and ensures consistency in approach and reporting.

How long should a scoping review take?

The duration of a scoping review can vary significantly based on several factors, including the scope of the review, the depth of the literature, the number of researchers involved, and the complexity of the research question. As a result, it’s challenging to provide an exact timeline, but it can typically take several months to complete a scoping review.

Here are some considerations that can influence the timeframe:

  1. Scope of the Review: The breadth and complexity of the topic being reviewed can significantly impact the time required. A broader topic or one with an extensive literature base might take longer to search, screen, and synthesize.
  2. Search and Screening Process: Conducting comprehensive searches across multiple databases, screening potentially large numbers of articles for inclusion, and refining the selection process can be time-consuming.
  3. Data Extraction and Synthesis: Extracting data from selected studies, organizing it, and synthesizing the findings into a coherent overview can take a considerable amount of time, especially if the included literature is extensive.
  4. Team and Resources: The number of researchers involved and the availability of resources, such as access to databases or software tools, can impact the speed of the review process.
  5. Methodological Considerations: Some scoping reviews might involve complex methodologies or the need for additional steps like stakeholder consultations, which can extend the review duration.

A scoping review’s timeline can range from a few months to a year or more, depending on the above factors. Planning and setting realistic timelines based on the scope of the review, available resources, and the complexity of the research question are essential to ensure a thorough and timely completion of the review.

What is the purpose of scoping?

Scoping serves several purposes across different contexts, but generally, its primary goal is to define, clarify, or explore the boundaries or parameters of a particular subject, problem, or situation. Here are some purposes of scoping:

  1. Understanding the Scope of a Project or Task: In project management or planning, scoping helps define the goals, objectives, deliverables, and limitations of a project. It sets the boundaries and clarifies what will be included or excluded.
  2. Defining Research Boundaries: In research, scoping helps delineate the breadth and depth of a study. For instance, in a scoping review, it identifies the extent of literature to be included, the key concepts or themes to be explored, and the gaps in existing knowledge.
  3. Clarifying Legal or Regulatory Requirements: In legal matters or compliance contexts, scoping helps define the legal or regulatory boundaries of an issue, ensuring that all relevant aspects are considered within the defined scope.
  4. Identifying Key Elements or Components: Scoping aids in identifying and understanding the key components, factors, or variables that need consideration within a specific context or problem.
  5. Setting Expectations: Scoping helps manage expectations by clearly defining what can and cannot be accomplished within a given context or timeframe.
  6. Facilitating Decision-Making: By outlining the scope, scoping provides decision-makers with a clear understanding of the factors or elements relevant to a situation, aiding in informed decision-making.

Ultimately, scoping aims to bring clarity, structure, and focus to a situation, whether it’s a project, research study, legal issue, or any other context, by outlining its boundaries and defining what should be considered within those boundaries.

What is PICO in scoping review?


In scoping reviews, the PICO framework is not commonly used as it is in systematic reviews or clinical research. However, it’s worth noting that the PICO framework (Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome) is a structured approach primarily used in formulating focused clinical research questions, especially for systematic reviews, evidence-based practice, or clinical decision-making.

In the context of scoping reviews, while the PICO framework might not be directly applied in the same way, scoping reviews often involve formulating a clear research question or objective that guides the review process. This research question might encompass various elements similar to those included in the PICO framework:

  1. Population: This refers to the specific group of individuals or subjects under consideration. In a scoping review, the population might refer to the broad group or category of individuals, communities, or entities relevant to the topic being explored.
  2. Intervention: While scoping reviews are more exploratory and do not necessarily focus on interventions as in systematic reviews, this element in a scoping review could refer to various approaches, programs, policies, or practices related to the topic of interest.
  3. Comparison: In some research questions, there might be a comparative aspect, where researchers might explore differences, similarities, or contrasts between different populations, interventions, or contexts.
  4. Outcome: In scoping reviews, outcomes might refer to the intended or unintended effects, consequences, impacts, or results related to the topic under investigation.

While the PICO framework is not a standard feature in scoping reviews, elements similar to those within PICO might be embedded within the formulation of research questions or objectives guiding the scoping review process. This helps ensure clarity and structure in defining the scope of the review and identifying relevant aspects of the topic to be explored.

Is scoping review a research?

Yes, a scoping review is considered a form of research methodology used in the academic and scientific fields. It’s a systematic approach used to map and summarize existing literature on a particular topic or research area. While it differs from traditional empirical research (such as experimental studies or surveys), a scoping review is a valuable research method in its own right.

Scoping reviews involve a systematic process of searching, selecting, and synthesizing existing knowledge and evidence from various sources, including academic journals, books, grey literature, and other relevant materials. The goal is to provide a comprehensive overview of the existing literature, identify key concepts or themes, and highlight gaps or areas that require further investigation.

Researchers conducting scoping reviews use rigorous and systematic methods to define the research question, search strategy, inclusion/exclusion criteria, data extraction, and synthesis process. The findings from a scoping review contribute to the understanding of the breadth and depth of knowledge on a specific topic, inform future research directions, and help identify areas for more focused systematic reviews or empirical studies.

While a scoping review doesn’t generate new empirical data or test hypotheses like primary research studies, it is an essential form of research that plays a crucial role in synthesizing and mapping existing knowledge within a field, guiding future research endeavors, and informing evidence-based practice or policy development.

How many databases should be used in a scoping review?

The number of databases used in a scoping review can vary based on several factors, including the scope of the review, the specificity of the research question, and the discipline or field of study. There isn’t a fixed or standard number of databases to be used, but the aim is to conduct a comprehensive search that captures relevant literature.

Here are some considerations when determining the number of databases to include:

  1. Relevance to the Topic: Identify the key databases that are most relevant to your topic or discipline. These databases often cover a wide range of journals and publications in a specific field.
  2. Multidisciplinary Approach: Depending on the interdisciplinary nature of your research question, consider using databases that cover multiple disciplines or subject areas. This can ensure a broader coverage of literature.
  3. Core Databases: Include well-established and commonly used databases relevant to your field. Examples include PubMed/MEDLINE for biomedical sciences, PsycINFO for psychology, Scopus or Web of Science for broader coverage, and others specific to your field.
  4. Grey Literature Sources: Consider including sources beyond academic databases, such as grey literature repositories, conference proceedings, institutional repositories, or governmental websites, especially if your topic involves policy or practice-related information.

While there isn’t a fixed number, using at least two or three core databases relevant to your research area is a good starting point. However, it’s also essential to complement these with additional sources to ensure a comprehensive search. Researchers often expand their search strategies beyond databases to cover other relevant sources to capture a wide range of literature.

Additionally, consulting with subject librarians or experts in the field can provide valuable insights into the most appropriate and relevant databases to include in your scoping review.

Are scoping reviews biased?

Scoping reviews, like any form of research synthesis, can be susceptible to biases, although they aim to minimize them through systematic and transparent methodologies. Here are some potential sources of bias in scoping reviews:

  1. Publication Bias: There might be a tendency to include published studies more than unpublished or grey literature, leading to a bias toward published findings.
  2. Selection Bias: Inherent biases might be introduced during the study selection process, especially if inclusion and exclusion criteria are not clearly defined or consistently applied.
  3. Language Bias: Limiting searches to specific languages can introduce bias, potentially excluding relevant studies published in other languages.
  4. Database Bias: Relying on a limited number of databases might result in missing relevant studies that are indexed in other databases or sources.
  5. Timeframe Bias: Limiting the search to a specific timeframe might exclude older studies that could provide valuable historical context or relevant information.
  6. Researcher Bias: Personal biases of researchers during study selection, data extraction, or interpretation of findings can influence the outcomes of the scoping review.

However, scoping reviews aim to minimize biases through systematic and transparent methodologies. Researchers attempt to reduce bias by clearly defining research questions, developing rigorous search strategies, applying predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria, and conducting transparent and reproducible methods for study selection, data extraction, and synthesis.

To mitigate bias, it’s crucial for researchers to document their methods comprehensively, report any limitations transparently, and consider potential biases when interpreting the findings. Additionally, involving multiple reviewers in critical stages of the review process and consulting experts or stakeholders can enhance the credibility and rigor of the scoping review.

Can a scoping review be qualitative and quantitative?

Yes, a scoping review can incorporate both qualitative and quantitative studies, as well as mixed-methods research. Scoping reviews aim to provide a broad overview of existing literature on a particular topic or research area, and this can encompass various study designs and methodologies, including both qualitative and quantitative approaches.

In a scoping review:

  • Qualitative Studies: These studies explore attitudes, experiences, and perspectives using methods like interviews, observations, or content analysis. They might contribute rich contextual information, theories, or insights related to the research question.
  • Quantitative Studies: These studies involve numerical data, statistical analyses, and experiments to quantify relationships, outcomes, or phenomena. They might provide empirical evidence, measurements, or statistical trends related to the topic under investigation.
  • Mixed-Methods Studies: These studies integrate both qualitative and quantitative approaches to provide a more comprehensive understanding of a research question. They combine the strengths of both methodologies to offer diverse perspectives and a holistic view of the topic.

In a scoping review, researchers typically do not conduct detailed analysis or synthesis of the findings from individual studies as in a systematic review. Instead, they aim to map and summarize the breadth of the existing literature, identifying key concepts, themes, or trends across various types of studies, including qualitative and quantitative research.

By including diverse study designs and methodologies, a scoping review can offer a comprehensive overview of the available evidence, providing insights from different perspectives and enriching the understanding of the research area.

What is scoping steps?

The steps involved in conducting a scoping review can be outlined as follows:

  1. Identifying the Research Question or Objective:
    • Define the scope and purpose of the scoping review. This involves clarifying the research question or objective that guides the review.
  2. Identifying Relevant Studies:
    • Develop a comprehensive search strategy. This includes determining databases, keywords, and other sources to search for relevant literature related to the research question.
  3. Study Selection:
    • Screen and select studies based on predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria. This involves multiple stages of screening to ensure the relevance of the studies to the review’s objectives.
  4. Charting the Data:
    • Extract and compile relevant information from the selected studies. This includes key findings, methodologies, participant characteristics, and other pertinent details. Using tables or other frameworks can help organize this information.
  5. Collating, Summarizing, and Reporting the Results:
    • Analyze the extracted data to identify key themes, concepts, or patterns within the literature. Summarize the findings and present them in a clear and organized manner.
  6. Consultation and Stakeholder Involvement (Optional):
    • In some cases, scoping reviews may involve consultation with stakeholders, experts, or the intended audience to ensure that the review addresses relevant concerns and captures important aspects of the topic.

These steps represent a general framework for conducting a scoping review, emphasizing the systematic approach to searching, selecting, and synthesizing the literature. The goal is to map the existing literature, identify key concepts, and provide a comprehensive overview of the topic area while addressing the research objectives set at the beginning of the review.

What are scoping requirements?

Scoping requirements refer to the criteria, guidelines, or specifications that define the scope and parameters of a project, study, or review. In the context of a scoping review, the requirements outline the criteria used to define the scope of the review, identify relevant literature, and conduct the review process.

Key scoping requirements include:

  1. Research Question or Objective: Clear definition of the research question or objective that guides the scoping review. This sets the foundation for what will be included and explored in the review.
  2. Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria: Specific criteria used to determine which studies or sources will be included or excluded in the review. This includes criteria related to study types, publication dates, language, and relevance to the research question.
  3. Search Strategy: Detailed plan outlining the databases, keywords, and sources that will be used to search for relevant literature. The search strategy should be systematic and comprehensive.
  4. Data Extraction and Synthesis Methods: Guidelines for how data will be extracted from selected studies and how the information will be organized, analyzed, and synthesized. This might include frameworks, tables, or thematic analysis methods.
  5. Reporting and Transparency: Requirements for transparent reporting of the review process, including the methods used for study selection, data extraction, and synthesis. This ensures reproducibility and clarity in presenting the findings.
  6. Quality Assessment (if applicable): Specifications for assessing the quality of included studies, if it’s a part of the scoping review methodology. This might involve tools or criteria for evaluating the quality or reliability of the selected literature.
  7. Timeline and Resources: A timeline outlining the estimated duration for each stage of the review process and the resources required, including personnel, databases, software tools, etc.

Setting clear and well-defined scoping requirements is crucial in ensuring the rigor, transparency, and systematic approach of a scoping review. These requirements help researchers define the scope, conduct the review in a consistent manner, and report the findings accurately.

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