In a scoping review, the purpose is to map the field of research on a given topic. Unlike a systematic review, there is no rigorous critical appraisal. It is knowledge synthesis that follows a systematic approach to gather evidence on a topic and identify main concepts, theories, sources, and knowledge gaps.
Systematic reviews are useful for answering clearly defined questions, such as: “Do resistance training and weight bearing exercises reduce bone mineral loss due to aromatase inhibitors?"
Scoping reviews are useful for answering much broader questions, such as “What are the possible adverse side effects from estrogen inhibitors and how do we mitigate them?"
Among other objectives, scoping reviews help determine whether a systematic review of the literature is warranted.
Scoping reviews can be used to map the key concepts that underpin a field of research, as well as to clarify working definitions, and/or the conceptual boundaries of a topic (Arksey & O’Malley 2005). The indications for scoping reviews are listed below: (Munn et al. 2018a)
As a precursor to a systematic review.
To identify the types of available evidence in a given field.
To identify and analyze knowledge gaps.
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.
Based on Chapter 11 of the Johanna Briggs Institute Manual for Evidence Synthesis.
This is an excellent article which will guide you in creating your scoping review protocol.
Peters, Micah, Godfrey, Christina, McInerney, Patricia, Khalil, Hanan, Larsen, Palle, Marnie, Casey, et al. (2022). Best practice guidance and reporting items for the development of scoping review protocols. JBI Evidence Synthesis, 20, 953-968. https://doi.org/10.11124/JBIES-21-00242
Organize your Writing
The PRISMA checklist that contains 22 essential reporting items and 2 optional items to include when writing a scoping review. This checklist also provides tips that further explain how to report these items which you will include when writing your scoping review such as Tip #7 that guides you on how to document and describe your comprehensive literature search strategy.
This article in the Annals of Internal Medicine provides further explanation of each item (1-22) in the PRISMA Extension for Scoping Reviews and what you need to include when writing and documenting your scoping review.
You are now ready to write up the evidence to answer your question in your scoping review.
The following article (Westphaln et al., 2021) provides more detail on each step of the six step framework: