Table 2

A comparison of scoping and systematic reviews

Scoping reviewSystematic review
Broad research question.Focused research question.
No critical appraisal of included studies.Quality and risk of bias assessment included.
Research protocol developed but it involves iterative approach with changes based on initial search results.Research protocol developed a priori.
More qualitative than quantitative synthesis.Often quantitative analysis.
Used in ‘mapping the literature’ to identify gaps in a body of literature, identify key terms and concepts.Used to formulate a conclusion about a focused research question; assesses the quality of existing evidence.
  • Adapted with permission from Brien et al. 31