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Library Guides

Systematic Reviews

Scoping review


Scoping reviews often precede a full systematic review. They aim to quickly identify key concepts underpinning the research area, as well as map out the primary sources of potential evidence and their availability. Scoping reviews tend to be conducted where there are few or no systematic reviews in existence in a particular research area, or where an research area is particularly complex or multi-disciplinary.

Common characteristics

  • Used to identify whether or not a full review is justified by accessing the volume of literature and existing evidence base.
  • Helps to define the existing research domains, clusters, and pockets of evidence and existing knowledge.
  • Can be used to help develop or refine a review question, especially checking the breadth, depth and focus of a research question.
  • Helpful in identifying relevant keywords, concepts and terms, including any relevant synonyms.
  • Helpful in identifying the amount of time and resources required for a full review.
  • Useful in accessing and refining search techniques to capture relevant studies.
  • Detailed synthesis is not required.
  • Commonly undertaken as part of a funding application or before the protocol stage.