Background: A scoping review or study is a particular approach to the mapping of evidence that is distinct from systematic reviews. While a framework has existed for the conduct of scoping reviews since 2005, there has been limited consensus and little clear guidance for how to conduct and report them.
Objectives: To describe the work of a methodological working group of the Joanna Briggs Institute to develop guidance for the conduct and reporting of scoping reviews, and to provide an overview of reviews that have used the methodology to date.
Methods: The working group comprised of 6 participants who corresponded via teleconference, email, and face to face meeting during a 6-month development period. Discussion and testing elements of methods for the conduct of a scoping review were held over this period culminating in a practical workshop. Workshop participants, review authors and methodologists provided further testing, critique and feedback on the proposed methodology. A number of review groups have developed scoping review protocols and reports using the methodology.
Results: Details are provided regarding the essential elements of a JBI scoping review, including articulation of the objective and review question, nuances of the inclusion criteria, and search strategy. An overview of scoping review protocols and reports that have used the JBI methodology is described to illustrate how relevant data may be extracted and mapped from included studies.
Conclusions: Scoping reviews are a useful addition to the repertoire of tools available to knowledge users in healthcare to gain a better understanding of a broad topic area. Scoping reviews using this methodology are being conducted to meet a number of different objectives.