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This page has been designed to direct researchers to key guidance, tools and resources to support the process of conducting a Scoping Review. Relevant information may also be found in our Health Sciences Review Articles guide that includes details on Literature Reviews, Systematic Reviews, and Other Types of Reviews.

The video below provides an overview of the resources found on this page.

What Are Scoping Reviews?

  • "Scoping reviews are a type of evidence synthesis that aims to systematically identify and map the breadth of evidence available on a particular topic, field, concept, or issue, often irrespective of source (ie, primary research, reviews, non-empirical evidence) within or across particular contexts. Scoping reviews can clarify key concepts/definitions in the literature and identify key characteristics or factors related to a concept, including those related to methodological research." Munn, Pollock, D., Khalil, H., Alexander, L., Mclnerney, P., Godfrey, C. M., Peters, M., & Tricco, A. C. (2022). What are scoping reviews? Providing a formal definition of scoping reviews as a type of evidence synthesis. JBI Evidence Synthesis, 20(4), 950–952. 

  • A scoping review of scoping reviews found that the three most common reasons for conducting a scoping review were to explore the breadth or extent of the literature, map and summarize the evidence, and inform future research. The indications for scoping reviews are listed below:
    • As a precursor to a systematic review.

    • To identify the types of available evidence in a given field.

    • To identify and analyse knowledge gaps.

    • 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.

Munn, Peters, M. D. J., Stern, C., Tufanaru, C., McArthur, A., & Aromataris, E. (2018). Systematic review or scoping review? Guidance for authors when choosing between a systematic or scoping review approach. BMC Medical Research Methodology18(1), 143–143. 

Is a Scoping Review Right for You?

There are many types of review methodologies. Read Grant and Booth's article below to learn more about 14 different types of reviews. Use the Interactive Tool to determine whether a Scoping Review is the right method for you. 

Getting Started - Overview of the Process

If you are just getting started, the JBI Scoping Review Infographic provides a succinct overview of the process. The JBI (Joanna Briggs Institute) Scoping Review Network video provides more robust insight. The video goes over the latest 2020 guidance and explains how to conduct and report your scoping review.

Scoping Review Resources

An a priori protocol must be developed before undertaking the scoping review. A scoping review protocol pre-defines the objectives, methods, and reporting of the review and allows for transparency of the process.

The protocol should detail the criteria that the reviewers intend to use to include and exclude sources of evidence 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. Any deviations of the scoping review from the protocol should be clearly highlighted and explained in the scoping review.

The JBI Scoping Review Protocol Template can be tailored/adapted as necessary. 

Scoping reviews can be registered with the Open Science Framework or Figshare. They may be published in some journals, such as the JBI Evidence Synthesis or Systematic Reviews (BioMed Central)

The search process for a Scoping Review(ScR) follows the same steps as that of a Systematic Review (SR). The main difference is that SRs use the PICO framework to identify the main concepts in your research question, and ScRs typically use the PCC framework: Population / Concept / Context.  

Search strategy development, databases and resources to search can be found in the Health Sciences Systematic Review guide. Please see the Search Development and Search Techniques tabs for information on how to search, and the Databases and Grey Literature tabs for places to search. Remember to adapt PICO to PCC. 

Citation management

Once you have completed your searches, we recommend that you export your search results to EndNote software.

Steps on how to transfer results from databases into EndNote and deduplicate references can be found in the Health Sciences Systematic Review Guide - Citation Mangement tab, and on the Systematic Reviews YouTube Playlist. It is recommended that you watch the first three videos to get an overall understanding of the process:1) Documenting a Search; 2) Systematic Review EndNote Workflow; and 3) Rerun a Systematic Review Search.


Covidence can be used to screen abstracts and create the PRISMA flow diagram. See the Health Sciences Systematic Review Guide - Screening & Selection tab. 

Retrieving Full Text

See the Health Sciences Systematic Review Guide - Retrieving Full Text tab for guidance on retrieving full text articles, publications, and grey literature. 

In scoping reviews, the data extraction process may be referred to as “data charting”. 

A draft charting table should be developed and piloted at the protocol stage to record key information such as:

  1. Author(s)

  2. Year of publication

  3. Origin/country of origin (where the source was published or conducted)

  4. Aims/purpose

  5. Population and sample size within the source of evidence (if applicable)

  6. Methodology / methods

  7. Intervention type, comparator and details of these (e.g. duration of the intervention) (if applicable). Duration of the intervention (if applicable)

  8. Outcomes and details of these (e.g. how measured) (if applicable)

  9. Key findings that relate to the scoping review question/s.

JBI Scoping Review Network resources that demystify data charting, analysis, and data presentation:

Currently, librarians will provide a one-hour research consultation to help teams get started on the process on their own. The one-hour consultation includes guidance for:

  • Determining if your question is right for a systematic review, scoping review, or better suited for another type of review. 
  • Identifying tools, resources, guidelines, and standards for conducting reviews.
  • Choosing relevant databases and grey literature sources based on your review question.
  • Search strategy development and database search techniques. 
  • Help with software.

Currently, librarians will NOT develop the search, conduct the search, or gather citations, abstracts, or full text. 

To request a one-hour consultation, please fill out this form and a librarian will contact you. Please note, the form is designed for Systematic Review projects. You can also reach us by sending an email to