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Public Health

This guide has library resources to help you conduct research related to public health.

What is a Scoping Review

What is a Scoping Review? 

A Scoping Review is an evidence-synthesis review type. Evidence-synthesis review types include 

Systematic Reviews, Meta-Analyses, and other review types. A Scoping Review, however differs from a

Systematic Review in that according to Grant and Booth (2009), a Scoping Review provides a "preliminary assessment 

of potential size and scope of available research literature. Aims to identify nature and extent of research evidence. 

Additional descriptions of Scoping Reviews include the following characteristics from Arksey & O'Malley (2005): 

  • To map the extent of research conducted on a topic 
  • To determine if a full systematic review is warranted 
  • To summarize the existing research 
  • To identify gaps in research

A Scoping Review allows a researcher to form a broader question rather than a tightly focused question as seen with a Systematic Review. A broader question allows a researcher to assess the state of the literature on a topic. Keep in mind that creating a question is an iterative process and you may need to refine your question to aid in discovery of literature within the scope of your question. 

PRISMA Guidance on Scoping Reviews

Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) - Scoping Review

PRISMA has created a statement to support conducting Scoping Reviews using a rigorous methdology similar to that developed for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. 

The PRISMA statement for Scoping Reviews is found here.

Developed in 2018 the statement provides a checklist of twenty reporting items to properly conduct a Scoping Review.  


Rayyan Tutorial

Additional Reading

Peterson, J., Pearce, P.F., Ferguson, L.A., Langford, C.A. (2017). Understanding scoping reviews: Definitions, purpose and processJournal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 29(1), 12-16. doi: 10.1002/2327-6924.12380

Tricco, A.C., Lillie, E., Zarin, W., O'Brien, K.K., Colquhoun, H., Levac, D., Moher, D., Peters, M.D., Horsley, T., Weeks, L., Hempel, S. et al. (2018). PRISMA extension for scoping reviews (PRISMA-ScR): checklist and explanation. Annals of Internal Medicine,169(7), 467-473. doi:10.7326/M18-0850.

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