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Systematic and Literature Reviews


Scoping reviews differ from systematic reviews in that they describe clinical evidence rather than answering clinical questions.

Typical reasons for doing a scoping review include:

  • as a precursor to a systematic review;
  • to identify the types of evidence available in a given field;
  • to identify and analyze knowledge gaps;
  • to clarify key concepts and definitions in the literature;
  • to examine how research is conducted in a certain topic or field;
  • to identify key characteristics or factors related to a concept

Peters et al, 2021. doi:10.1097/XEB.0000000000000277

Scoping reviews are similar to systematic reviews in that:

  • they should be done systematically and with rigour.
  • a protocol should be drawn up and adhered to.
  • inclusion and exclusion criteria should be clearly defined prior to starting.
  • search strategies and processes should be systematic, recorded and replicable.

Differences are that:

  • studies are not subject to formal critical appraisal
  • analysis is more descriptive
  • there are more options for presenting results, including diagrammatic or mapping.

Scoping review protocols cannot be registered with PROSPERO or JBI. Registration options include Open Science Framework and Figshare.


Updated methodological guidance for the conduct of scoping reviews. JBI Evidence Implementation: March 2021

Systematic review or scoping review? Guidance for authors when choosing between a systematic or scoping review approachBMC Medical Research Methodology 2018.

JBI Manual for Evidence Synthesis Chapter 11: Scoping reviews

JBI Scoping review resources.

PRISMA for Scoping Reviews. The PRISMA extension for scoping reviews was published in 2018. The checklist contains 20 essential reporting items and 2 optional items to include when completing a scoping review.

Recommendations for the extraction, analysis, and presentation of results in scoping reviews. JBI Evidence Synthesis 21(3):p 520-532, 2023.