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Table 3 SLR frameworks advancing Arksey’s and O’Malley’s methodology

From: Advancing methodology for scoping reviews: recommendations arising from a scoping literature review (SLR) to inform transformation of Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services

Authors Aims Proposed advancements
Anderson et al. (2008) [22] “Scoping studies are concerned with contextualizing knowledge in terms of identifying the current state of understanding; identifying the sorts of things we know and do not know”. None
Levac et al. (2010) [17] Same as outlined by Arksey and O’Malley (2005) (1) Clarify research questions by linking them with purpose and rationale for conducting the SLR
(2) Balance feasibility with extensiveness of the review process, ideally through consultations within a research team representing relevant content and methodological expertise
(3) Use an interactive team approach to data selection and extraction
(4) Provide quantitative summary and qualitative thematic analysis in the report, as well as discussing implications for research and practice
(5) Include consultations with stakeholders as mandatory knowledge translation component of scoping review
Daudt et al. (2013) [20] “Scoping studies aim to map the literature on a particular topic or research area and provide an opportunity to identify key concepts; gaps in the research; and types and sources of evidence to inform practice, policymaking, and research”. (1) Assess quality of included study
(2) Trialing data charting method to ensure consistency
The Joanna Briggs Institute (2015) [16] “The value of scoping reviews to evidence-based practice is the examination of a broader area to identify gaps in the research knowledge base, clarify key concepts, and report on the types of evidence that address and inform practice in the field. Scoping reviews also may be carried out to determine not only the extent of the research available regarding a topic, but also the way the research has been conducted”. (1) Develop an a-priori protocol that clearly defines objectives and research questions, which in turn determine inclusion/exclusion criteria defined using Population, Concept and Context (PCC).
(2) Clearly articulate the core concept examined by the SLR to guide the scope and breadth of evidence covered, and determine the outcomes.
Peters et al. (2015) [23] “Scoping reviews have great utility for synthesizing research evidence and are often used to map existing literature in a given field in terms of its nature, features, and volume. (…) they may also be undertaken as exercises in and of themselves to summarize and disseminate research findings, to identify research gaps, and to make recommendations for future research”. None
Colquhoun et al. (2014) [19] “A scoping review or scoping study is a form of knowledge synthesis that addresses an exploratory research question aimed at mapping key concepts, types of evidence, and gaps in research related to a defined area or field by systematically searching, selecting, and synthesizing existing knowledge”. To improve the quality, transparency and completeness of reporting, and enable critical appraisal, and increase transparency the authors recommend applying The Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research (EQUATOR) reporting guidelines.
Kahalil et al. (2016) [21] “Scoping reviews are used to assess the extent of a body of literature on a particular topic, and often to ensure that further research in that area is a beneficial addition to world knowledge”. (1) Clarify and link the purpose of the review with research questions.
(2) Use a three-step literature search to balance feasibility and comprehensiveness
(3) Study selection by the team
(4) Present data in both tabular and narrative formats
(5) Identify implications to policy, practice and research
Tricco et al. (2018) [24] “(SLRs) may examine the extent (that is, size), range (variety), and nature (characteristics) of the evidence on a topic or question; determine the value of undertaking a systematic review; summarize findings from a body of knowledge that is heterogeneous in methods or discipline; or identify gaps in the literature to aid the planning and commissioning of future research”. To improve the quality of reporting the authors recommend using PRISMA-ScR (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews) checklist. It provides a comprehensive guide on how to systematically and exhaustively report scoping studies.
Our team’s contribution A scoping review is a method of knowledge synthesis that can facilitate synthesis and summary of a large body of evidence in a relatively short time. One of its applications is to disseminate research results and highlight their practical implications to guide and support decision makers, who do not have time, skills or resources to synthesis and critically appraise evidence themselves,. (1)Assemble a research team with complementary skills and expertise.
(2) Draw on expertise of external partners, particularly practitioners, decision-makers and commissioners who will be translating findings into practice.
(3) Pre-register the review protocol. Keep a detailed record of all steps and decisions. Note rationale for each decision and consider how it would impact on generalisability and utility of review findings.
(4) Use systematic procedures for literature searchers, selection of studies, data extraction and analysis.
(5) If feasible, appraise the quality of included evidence.
(6) Be transparent about limitations of findings.