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Systematic Review

This guide aims to provide tools and resources that can be used for conducting a systematic review in medical and health sciences.

Resources on Scoping Review

What is a Scoping Review?

"At a general level, scoping studies might aim to map rapidly the key concepts underpinning a research area and the main sources and types of evidence available, and can be undertaken as stand-alone projects in their own right, especially where an area is complex or has not been reviewed comprehensively before"

Source: Arksey, H., & O'Malley, L. (2005). Scoping studies: Towards a methodological framework. International journal of social research methodology, 8(1), 19-32. 

When do we use Scoping Review?

Scoping Review can be used for:

  • clarifying working definitions and conceptual boundaries of a topic or field.
  • determining the value of undertaking a full systematic review (e.g. Have systematic reviews already been conducted? What is the probable scope of a full systematic review?).
  • summarizing and disseminating research findings.
  • mapping existing literature in a given field in terms of its nature, features, and volume.
  • identifying research gaps, and making recommendations for future research.

Source: Peters, M. D. J., Godfrey, C. M., Khalil, H., McInerney, P., Parker, D., & Soares, C. B. (2015). Guidance for conducting systematic scoping reviews. JBI Evidence Implementation, 13(3), 141-146. 

Comparison of Scoping Review with Systematic Review

The table below provides a comparison of Scoping Review with Systematic Review

  Scoping Review Systematic review
Timeframe more than 12 months 6 months to 2 years
  • Provision of a preliminary assessment of the potential size and scope of available research literature
  • Aims to identify the nature and extent of research evidence (usually including ongoing research)
Review result is used for answering a clinically meaningful question or providing evidence to inform practice or for answering a question addressing the feasibility, appropriateness, meaningfulness or effectiveness of a certain treatment or practice.
  • Inform policymakers whether a full systematic review is needed
  • Methodology is systematic, transparent and replicable (similar to systematic review)
  • Aims to provide synthesized evidence to inform clinical decision making
  • The included studies are critically appraised and synthesized
  • conducted in an unbiased and reproductive way (according to a predefined protocol)
  • Lack of critically appraised and synthesised result to answer a particular question
  • Formal assessment of methodological quality of the included studies is not always included
  • Implications for practice (from a clinical or policy making point of view) maybe significantly limited
Result is limited to provide insights about effectiveness (e.g. whether a particular intervention is effective) rather than seeking answers to more complex search questions.