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J Clin Epidemiol. 2014 Dec;67(12):1291-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2014.03.013. Epub 2014 Jul 14.

Scoping reviews: time for clarity in definition, methods, and reporting.

Author information

1
Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto, 160-500 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 1V7. Electronic address: heather.colquhoun@utoronto.ca.
2
School of Rehabilitation Science, University of Ottawa, 200 Lees Avenue, Room A120, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 6N5.
3
Department of Physical Therapy, University of Toronto, 500 University Avenue, Room 160, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 1V7.
4
Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St Michael's Hospital, 30 Bond Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5B 1W8.
5
Centre for Practice Changing Research, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Clinical Epidemiology Program, The Ottawa Hospital, General Campus, 501 Smyth Road, Box 201B, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1H 8L6; Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, 451 Smyth Road, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1H 8M5.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The scoping review has become increasingly popular as a form of knowledge synthesis. However, a lack of consensus on scoping review terminology, definition, methodology, and reporting limits the potential of this form of synthesis. In this article, we propose recommendations to further advance the field of scoping review methodology.

STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING:

We summarize current understanding of scoping review publication rates, terms, definitions, and methods. We propose three recommendations for clarity in term, definition and methodology.

RESULTS:

We recommend adopting the terms "scoping review" or "scoping study" and the use of a proposed definition. Until such time as further guidance is developed, we recommend the use of the methodological steps outlined in the Arksey and O'Malley framework and further enhanced by Levac et al. The development of reporting guidance for the conduct and reporting of scoping reviews is underway.

CONCLUSION:

Consistency in the proposed domains and methodologies of scoping reviews, along with the development of reporting guidance, will facilitate methodological advancement, reduce confusion, facilitate collaboration and improve knowledge translation of scoping review findings.

KEYWORDS:

EQUATOR; Knowledge synthesis; Methodology; Reporting; Scoping review; Scoping study; Terminology

PMID:
25034198
DOI:
10.1016/j.jclinepi.2014.03.013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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