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Writing a Scoping Review: The Ultimate Guide

Scoping Review

Welcome to the ultimate guide for writing a scoping review! If you’re embarking on this research journey, you’re about to discover a step-by-step roadmap to help you navigate the process with confidence. A scoping review is a powerful research method that allows you to comprehensively explore a broad topic, map the existing literature, and identify gaps for further research. In this guide, we will walk you through each stage of the process, equipping you with the knowledge and tools to create a high-quality scoping review.

Step 1: Defining Your Research Question and Scope

The first step in writing a scoping review is to clearly define your research question and scope. Ask yourself: What is the specific area of inquiry? What are the objectives of your review? By articulating your research question and delineating the boundaries of your review, you lay the foundation for a focused and purposeful study.

Step 2: Conducting a Comprehensive Literature Search

A scoping review requires a thorough and systematic literature search. Identify relevant databases, journals, and other sources that align with your research topic. Develop a comprehensive search strategy using appropriate keywords and Boolean operators. By casting a wide net, you can ensure that you capture a broad range of relevant studies and sources for your review.

Step 3: Screening and Selecting Studies

Screening and selecting studies is a critical step in the scoping review process. Develop clear inclusion and exclusion criteria to guide the selection process. Screen the identified studies based on their titles, abstracts, and full texts, ensuring they meet your predetermined criteria. This rigorous screening process ensures that the studies included in your review are of high relevance and quality.

Step 4: Extracting Data and Charting Results 

Once you have identified the relevant studies, the next step is to extract data and chart the results. Develop a standardized data extraction form to collect important information from each study, such as study characteristics, methodology, and key findings. This step enables you to organize and synthesize the data, identifying patterns and themes that emerge from the literature.

Step 5: Collating, Summarizing, and Reporting the Findings

Collate and summarize the extracted data to provide a comprehensive overview of the literature. Identify common themes, gaps, and trends in the existing research. Develop a coherent narrative that presents the findings in a clear and logical manner. Remember to critically evaluate the limitations and strengths of the reviewed studies and provide a balanced interpretation of the results.

Step 6: Consultation and Stakeholder Engagement

Consider engaging with stakeholders and experts in the field to validate your findings. Seek input from relevant individuals who can provide insights and perspectives that enhance the credibility and relevance of your scoping review. This step strengthens the impact of your review by incorporating diverse viewpoints and ensuring that it resonates with the needs of the intended audience.

Step 7: Conclusion and Future Directions

Conclude your scoping review by summarizing the key findings and their implications. Reflect on the limitations and potential biases of your study, acknowledging areas for improvement. Additionally, identify future research directions and gaps in the literature, providing recommendations for further investigation. By highlighting the value and potential impact of your scoping review, you contribute to the advancement of knowledge in your field.


Congratulations! You’ve now completed the step-by-step guide for writing a scoping review. By following these expert insights and guidelines, you’re well-equipped to embark on your scoping review journey with confidence. Remember to define your research question and scope, conduct a comprehensive literature search, screen and select studies rigorously, extract and chart the data, collate and summarize the findings, engage with stakeholders, and provide future directions. With each step, you’ll be closer to creating a valuable scoping review that contributes to the body of knowledge in your field.

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