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Scoping Reviews

Specialised advice for planning, researching and writing Scoping Reviews.

What is a protocol?

According to the JBI Manual for Evidence Synthesis, "[a] scoping review protocol is important, as it pre-defines the objectives, methods, and reporting of the review and allows for transparency of the process".

A protocol will help:

  1. define clear objectives for the review
  2. execute the review
  3. evaluate the success of the process and results of the review
  4. prevent duplication of research by others

This should be the last stage of the planning exercise once the topic is worked out and tested and the inclusion and exclusion criteria is determined.

How to write a protocol

There are a number of guides on how to write protocols. check any specific guidelines relevant to the discipline to see whether they provide guidelines for protocols as well as reviews.

Guidelines and Templates

Register the protocol

It is a good idea to register the protocol in a publicly accessible way as this will help avoid other people starting a review on the same topic. Some common places to publish protocols are listed below.

Publishing the protocol

Some journals publish scoping review protocols as well as completed scoping reviews. To find journals that publish protocols, search databases such as One Search or Scopus for your broad research field anywhere in the record and the words scoping and review and protocol in the title of the article. From the results screen, view the filter for Journal or Source Title to see which journals publish systematic review protocols.

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