Background/Objectives: The term 'research gap' is not well defined and its meaning can differ according to the research context. In health research, a research gap generally refers to a clinical question for which missing or insufficient information limits the ability to reach a conclusion. It is also referred to as research uncertainties and is closely linked to research needs, priorities and evidence-based research. Identification of research gaps has the potential to inform the design and conduct of research, evidence-based decision-making, health policies, and practice. Audiences including consumers, patients, researchers, clinicians, advocacy groups, and funders can also benefit from understanding the current status of research gaps. This study aims to better define and describe the different types of research gaps and methods for identifying and displaying them in health research.
Methods: We conducted a scoping review and searched PubMed, TRIP, and Google Scholar for relevant articles by using the following combination of terms: 'identifying gaps in research' OR 'research gaps' OR 'evidence gaps' OR 'research uncertainties' OR 'research gaps identification' OR 'research gaps prioritisation' AND 'methods'. The searches were limited to English language studies conducted in humans and published in the last 10 years. The search was enriched by expert recommendations and hand searching based on highly relevant articles. A total of 2080 articles were identified for abstract screening.
Preliminary results & conclusion: Full-text screening is ongoing and results of the scoping review will be available for the conference. This project will provide an overview of different methods reported on identifying and displaying gaps in health research and propose methodological recommendations including classifications of gaps and methods of identifying gaps which can improve research, research prioritisation and evidence-based decision making.