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Scoping Reviews

Specialised advice for planning, researching and writing Scoping Reviews.

What is a scoping review?

Scoping reviews aim to identify and provide an overview of research on a particular topic. Arksey and O'Malley (2005) first outlined a methodological framework for conducting scoping reviews and specified four main purposes of a scoping review:

  • To examine the extent, range and nature of research activity
  • To determine the value of undertaking a full systematic review
  • To summarize and disseminate research findings
  • To identify research gaps in the existing literature

Munn et al. (2018) have since established an expanded definition and purpose of scoping reviews to include the following features:

  • 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 analyse knowledge gaps


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