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Systematic Reviews: Scoping reviews

Scoping reviews

What are scoping reviews and how do they differ from systematic reviews?

"Scoping reviews share a number of the same processes as systematic reviews as they both use rigorous and transparent methods to comprehensively identify and analyze all the relevant literature pertaining to a research question (DiCenso et al.2010). The key differences between the two review methods can be attributed to their differing purposes and aims. First, the purpose of a scoping review is to map the body of literature on a topic area (Arksey and O'Malley, 2005), whereas the purpose of a systematic review is to sum up the best available research on a specific question (Campbell Collaboration, 2013). Subsequently, a scoping review seeks to present an overview of a potentially large and diverse body of literature pertaining to a broad topic, whereas a systematic review attempts to collate empirical evidence from a relatively smaller number of studies pertaining to a focused research question (Arksey and O'Malley, 2005; Higgins and Green, 2011). Second, scoping reviews generally include a greater range of study designs and methodologies than systematic reviews addressing the effectiveness of interventions, which often focus on randomized controlled trials (Arksey and O'Malley, 2005). Third, scoping reviews aim to provide a descriptive overview of the reviewed material without critically appraising individual studies or synthesizing evidence from different studies (Arksey and O'Malley, 2005; Brien et al.2010). In contrast, systematic reviews aim to provide a synthesis of evidence from studies assessed for risk of bias (Higgins and Green, 2011)."

From: scoping review of scoping reviews: advancing the approach and enhancing the consistency.

Pham MT, Rajić A, Greig JD, Sargeant JM, Papadopoulos A, McEwen SA.

Res Synth Methods. 2014 Dec;5(4):371-85. doi: 10.1002/jrsm.1123. Epub 2014 Jul 24. Review.



Example of a scoping review:

O’Flaherty, J., & Phillips, C. (2015). The use of flipped classrooms in higher education: A scoping review. The Internet and Higher Education25, 85–95.



Scoping Reviews II

Not sure whether to conduct a scoping review or a systematic review? Check out this excellent paper which describes the differences and also provides some guidance on the appropriacy of each.