What is a scoping review?

When gaining insight in the current status quo of scientific literature in a certain field, several methods are available, such as meta-analysis, systematic review, and a scoping review. All of these are based on a thorough and systematic search of literature. However, with a scoping review, a broad field of study, where research questions are relatively unspecific and various kinds of study designs are used, can be addressed within a relatively short amount of time [1]. Thus, a scoping review can help to quickly explore a field, without excluding studies based on their quality.

What kind of results can a scoping review generate?

The results of a scoping review consist of an overview of the literature that is available in a field, which provides the development team with relevant knowledge on the context in which they will be developing an eHealth technology. The exact nature of the results depends on many factors, such as the aims of the study and the field. Scoping reviews in very new or quickly evolving fields (such as eHealth) and with exploratory aims may yield narrative results, offering a more qualitative description of the literature. Fields that have already been more established and more focused aims can yield results that are more quantitative and focused on effectiveness.

References

[1] Arksey, H. & O'Malley, L. (2005). Scoping studies: towards a methodological framework. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 8(1), 19-32.