The general purpose for conducting scoping reviews is to identify and map the available evidence:
- To identify the types of available evidence in a given field.
- To clarify key concepts/ definitions in the literature.
- To examine how research is conducted on a certain topic or field.
- To identify key characteristics or factors related to a concept.
- As a precursor to a systematic review.
- To identify and analyze knowledge gaps.
Arksey & O'Malley framework for conducting a scoping study:
- Stage 1: identifying the research question
- Stage 2: identifying relevant studies
- Stage 3: study selection
- Stage 4: charting the data
- Stage 5: collating, summarizing and reporting the results
For further reading, see:
Hilary Arksey & Lisa O'Malley (2005) Scoping studies: towards a methodological framework, International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 8:1, 19-32, DOI: 10.1080/1364557032000119616.