Our Systematic Review Service can also assist you and your team with Scoping Reviews.
A scoping review is a relatively new approach to evidence synthesis and differs from systematic reviews in its purpose and aims. The purpose of a scoping review is to provide an overview of the available research evidence without producing a summary answer to a guide clinical decision-making.
Scoping reviews are 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.
The general purpose for conducting scoping reviews is to identify and map the available evidence.
Adapted from: Arksey H, O’Malley L. Scoping studies: towards a methodological framework. Int J Soc Res Methodol. 2005 Feb;8(1):19–32.
Sucharew H, Macaluso, M. Methods for Research Evidence Synthesis: The Scoping Review Approach. J. Hosp. Med 2019;7;416-418.
Adapted from: Pham MT, Rajić A, Greig JD, Sargeant JM, Papadopoulos A, McEwen SA. A scoping review of scoping reviews: advancing the approach and enhancing the consistency. Res Synth Methods. 2014 Dec;5(4):371–85.
Because the aim of a scoping review differs from that of a systematic review, question development may not fit into the PICO (Patient/Intervention/Comparison/Outcome) framework. Therefore, PCC (Population/Concept/Context) may be a more useful framework.
Per JBI's Scoping Review Manual: "The 'PCC' mnemonic is recommended as a guide to construct a clear and meaningful title for a scoping review. The PCC mnemonic stands for the Population, Concept, and Context. There is no need for explicit outcomes, interventions or phenomena of interest to be stated for a scoping review; however elements of each of these may be implicit in the concept under examination."
|P - Population||
"Important characteristics of participants should be detailed, including age and other qualifying criteria that make them appropriate for the objectives of the scoping review and for the review question.
In some circumstances, participants per se are not a relevant inclusion criterion. For example, for a scoping review that is focused upon mapping the types and details of research designs that have been used in a particular field, it may not be useful or within scope to detail the types of participants involved in that research." (11.2.4)
|Breast cancer patients|
|C - Concept||"The core concept examined by the scoping review should be clearly articulated to guide the scope and breadth of the inquiry. This may include details that pertain to elements that would be detailed in a standard systematic review, such as the 'interventions' and/or 'phenomena of interest' and/or 'outcomes.'" (11.2.4.)||Barriers to care|
|"May include... cultural factors such as geographic location and/or specific racial or gender-based interests. In some cases, context may also encompass details about the specific setting." (11.2.4)||Low income countries|
|Indications for Systematic Reviews|
|Uncover the international evidence|
|Confirm current practice/ address any variation/ identify new practices|
|Identify and inform areas for future research|
|Identify and investigate conflicting results|
|Produce statements to guide decision-making|
|Indications for Scoping Reviews|
|To identify the types of available evidence in a given field|
|To clarify key concepts/ definitions in the literature|
|To examine how research is conducted on a certain topic or field|
|To identify key characteristics or factors related to a concept|
|As a precursor to a systematic review|
|To identify and analyze knowledge gaps|
Adapted from: Munn Z, Peters MDJ, Stern C, Tufanaru C, McArthur A, Aromataris E. Systematic review or scoping review? Guidance for authors when choosing between a systematic or scoping review approach. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2018 Nov 19;18(1):143.
Systematic and scoping reviews aim to be comprehensive, transparent, reproducible, and unbiased – this is not typically the case with a traditional literature review. With clear and explicit methodology, the reader knows exactly how the authors of a study came to their conclusions, rather than relying on expert opinion or subjective selection that is usually found in a literature review.
|Literature Review||Systematic Review||Scoping Review|
|Review question||General discussion of topic||Focused clinical question/hypothesis||Broad overview of topic|
|A priori review protocol||No||Yes||Yes|
|Registering protocol||No||Yes||Sometimes, but not accepted in PROSPERO|
|Searching for relevant literature||Not comprehensive, typically only include published literature||Comprehensive search to locate all relevant published and unpublished studies||Comprehensive search to locate all relevant published and unpublished studies|
|Deciding which studies include/exclude||Undefined; typically only include studies that support claims||Explicit description of what types of studies are to be included||Explicit description of what types of studies are to be included|
|Standardized data extraction forms||No||Yes||Yes|
|Risk of bias assessment (critical appraisal)||No||Yes||Sometimes, but not required|