Optimising the process for conducting scoping reviews

BMJ Evid Based Med. 2021 Dec;26(6):312. doi: 10.1136/bmjebm-2020-111452. Epub 2020 Oct 21.


Knowledge synthesis constitutes a key part of evidence-based medicine and a scoping review is a type of knowledge synthesis that maps the breadth of literature on a topic. Conducting a scoping review is resource intensive and, as a result, it can be challenging to maintain best practices throughout the process. Much of the current guidance describes a scoping review framework or broad ways to conduct a scoping review. However, little detailed guidance exists on how to complete each stage to optimise the process. We present five recommendations based on our experience when conducting a particularly challenging scoping review: (1) engage the expertise of a librarian throughout the process, (2) conduct a truly systematic search, (3) facilitate communication and collaboration, (4) explore new tools or repurpose old ones, and (5) test every stage of the process. These recommendations add to the literature by providing specific and detailed advice on each stage of a scoping review. Our intent is for these recommendations to aid other teams that are undertaking knowledge synthesis projects.

Keywords: information science.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Publications*
  • Research Design*