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

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

Author information

1
Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1, Canada.
2
Division of Public Health Risk Sciences, Laboratory for Foodborne Zoonoses, Public Health Agency of Canada, 160 Research Lane, Suite 206, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 5B2, Canada.
3
Food Safety and Quality Unit, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153, Rome, Italy.
4
Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The scoping review has become an increasingly popular approach for synthesizing research evidence. It is a relatively new approach for which a universal study definition or definitive procedure has not been established. The purpose of this scoping review was to provide an overview of scoping reviews in the literature.

METHODS:

A scoping review was conducted using the Arksey and O'Malley framework. A search was conducted in four bibliographic databases and the gray literature to identify scoping review studies. Review selection and characterization were performed by two independent reviewers using pretested forms.

RESULTS:

The search identified 344 scoping reviews published from 1999 to October 2012. The reviews varied in terms of purpose, methodology, and detail of reporting. Nearly three-quarter of reviews (74.1%) addressed a health topic. Study completion times varied from 2 weeks to 20 months, and 51% utilized a published methodological framework. Quality assessment of included studies was infrequently performed (22.38%).

CONCLUSIONS:

Scoping reviews are a relatively new but increasingly common approach for mapping broad topics. Because of variability in their conduct, there is a need for their methodological standardization to ensure the utility and strength of evidence.

KEYWORDS:

knowledge synthesis; literature review; methodology; scoping review

PMID:
26052958
PMCID:
PMC4491356
DOI:
10.1002/jrsm.1123
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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