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What is a scoping review?
  1. Daniel Rodger1,2,
  2. Aneesa Admani1,
  3. Mark Thomas1
  1. 1Institute of Health and Social Care, London South Bank University, London, UK
  2. 2Department of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck University of London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Daniel Rodger, London South Bank University, Institute of Health and Social Care, London, UK; daniel.rodger{at}

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There are various types of literature reviews; the most appropriate review type will be determined by the research questions, aims and objectives. Other considerations can be more pragmatic, such as time and the size of the research team. A scoping review is typically selected to investigate a broad research question that aims to identify and map all the available and emerging evidence. An example of a research question used for a scoping review is: ‘What blended learning approaches are currently used in undergraduate nursing education?’1

What is the purpose of a scoping review?

The purpose of a scoping review is to identify the types of available evidence in a given area; summarise the existing evidence; identify gaps in the literature; and make recommendations for future research.2 In recent years, scoping reviews have become increasingly popular among nurses and other healthcare professionals. For example, a PubMed search of the term ‘scoping review’ yielded 53 309 results as of January 2024—more than double the results from just 4 years ago. Unlike a systematic review, a scoping review is not intended to inform clinical guidance, policy and practice.3 A scoping review aims to provide a descriptive summary of the sources of evidence without necessarily assessing the quality of the sources. Therefore, assessing the quality and risk of bias of the included studies is not required, however, some researchers choose to do so. Importantly, scoping reviews should be conducted systematically and transparently and be reproducible. It is recommended that a university or hospital librarian should assist with the development of a search strategy. …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.