Scoping reviews are conducted to map the depth and breadth of a topic based on diverse literature sources (i.e., not limited to peer-reviewed literature). Scoping reviews are well-suited as an exploratory methodology (e.g., to identify concepts or definitions of a topic; uncover types of evidence and/or gaps about a topic) that can be used as a starting point for other empirical inquiries.
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STRENGTHS + WEAKNESSES
Produces a synthesis of an existing and evolving body of literature
Identify gaps in the literature
Identify areas for future empirical work
Well-suited to the exploratory research questions
Include grey literature such as dissertations, papers in practice journals, editorials, position statements, and websites
Provide an opportunity for stakeholder consultation, such as with practitioners, students, and educators
Multiple methodological frameworks have evolved from and expanded upon Arksey and O'Malley's seminal paper on scoping reviews
Selecting terms for a comprehensive search strategy, especially when the literature is emerging and less well-known
Some topics are ill-defined, which can lead to different terms and definitions for the same topic
Heterogeneity of the data and team members' differing perspectives will likely require reflection and discussion to allow for collaborative decision-making and to produce meaningful results
Possible misconceptions related to the purpose, scope, and rigor of scoping reviews
Supporting Documents to Download
ALIKI THOMAS, PhD, OT(C), erg
Aliki Thomas is Associate Professor at School of Physical and Occupational Therapy and associate member at the Institute of Health Sciences Education, , Faculty of Medicine and health Sciences, McGill University. Dr. Thomas' research is on health professions education and knowledge translation. She is interested in the development and assessment of advanced clinical competencies including evidence-based practice, clinical reasoning, decision-making and the development of professional expertise
SUSANNE MAK, MSc, OT(c), erg.
Susanne Mak is an Occupational Therapist, an Assistant Professor (professional), Associate Director of the Occupational Therapy program (School of Physical and Occupational Therapy), and an Associate Member of the Institute of Health Sciences Education. She earned both her BSc. Occupational Therapy and MSc. in Rehabilitation Sciences from McGill. She is currently a PhD candidate in Rehabilitation Sciences (McGill) investigating the phenomena of attrition and retention in the rehabilitation professions.