Not sure whether to conduct a systematic review or a scoping review?
The table below outlines the basics of what makes these two methodologies different.
|To answer a specific research question by synthesizing as much existing evidence as possible
|To find out more about a topic, and provide a description of the body of related research
|Types of questions
|Is intervention A effective in achieving outcomes X, Y, Z in population Q?
Is intervention A more effective than intervention B at providing population Q with outcomes X, Y, Z?
|In what contexts have people applied intervention A?
What forms, models, or types of interventions have been offered to population Q?
|What this method can achieve
|If there is sufficient literature, a systematic review can state whether a specific intervention works or not, and provide recommendations based on the synthesis of evidence
|A scoping review can provide a comprehensive overview or map of a phenomenon’s documentation in the literature
A scoping review can potentially form the basis for one or many systematic reviews by helping identify all interventions used
|What this method cannot achieve
|If there isn’t enough literature, or the literature is too varied, a systematic review may not be able to support any recommendations
A systematic review can be premature if it is not yet known which interventions to examine or compare
|A scoping review can’t make any kind of recommendations about what works and what doesn’t; it can only describe what others have done