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Scoping Reviews

This guide lists resources related to conducting a Scoping Review.

Develop your protocol

A protocol is not always undertaken for scoping reviews in every discipline, and the PROSPERO  database, for example, does not publish scoping review protocols. 

However, the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) Manual for Evidence Synthesis states: that an ... "a priori protocol must be developed before undertaking the scoping review. A scoping review protocol is important as it pre-defines the objectives, methods and reporting of the review and allows for transparency of process.The protocol should detail the criteria that the reviewers intend to use to include and exclude studies and to identify what data is relevant, and how the data will be extracted and presented. The protocol provides the plan for the scoping review and is important in limiting the occurrence of reporting bias."  (Peters et al. 2020, Section 11.2).

Whereas deviations from a protocol for a systematic review are rare and not recommended, due to the more iterative nature of a scoping review, some changes to the protocol may be necessary. Any changes should still be clearly detailed and justifications listed in the Methods section of the final manuscript, if and when they occur.

The JBI Manual (section 11.2) provides some guidance on what information should be included in the protocol:

  • title
  • research question(s)
  • introduction
  • inclusion criteria
  • search strategy
  • process of source selection
  • data extraction
  • analysis of the evidence
  • presentation of the results

Consider registering your completed protocol in a journal or in a research repository, such as Open Science Framework (OSF) or Figshare. The resources listed below are also a great place for you to find examples of existing protocols if you're not sure how to write your own.

Protocol Resources

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