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      Scoping studies: advancing the methodology

      , 1 , 1 , 1 , 2

      Implementation Science : IS

      BioMed Central

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          Abstract

          Background

          Scoping studies are an increasingly popular approach to reviewing health research evidence. In 2005, Arksey and O'Malley published the first methodological framework for conducting scoping studies. While this framework provides an excellent foundation for scoping study methodology, further clarifying and enhancing this framework will help support the consistency with which authors undertake and report scoping studies and may encourage researchers and clinicians to engage in this process.

          Discussion

          We build upon our experiences conducting three scoping studies using the Arksey and O'Malley methodology to propose recommendations that clarify and enhance each stage of the framework. Recommendations include: clarifying and linking the purpose and research question (stage one); balancing feasibility with breadth and comprehensiveness of the scoping process (stage two); using an iterative team approach to selecting studies (stage three) and extracting data (stage four); incorporating a numerical summary and qualitative thematic analysis, reporting results, and considering the implications of study findings to policy, practice, or research (stage five); and incorporating consultation with stakeholders as a required knowledge translation component of scoping study methodology (stage six). Lastly, we propose additional considerations for scoping study methodology in order to support the advancement, application and relevance of scoping studies in health research.

          Summary

          Specific recommendations to clarify and enhance this methodology are outlined for each stage of the Arksey and O'Malley framework. Continued debate and development about scoping study methodology will help to maximize the usefulness and rigor of scoping study findings within healthcare research and practice.

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          Most cited references 11

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          Three approaches to qualitative content analysis.

          Content analysis is a widely used qualitative research technique. Rather than being a single method, current applications of content analysis show three distinct approaches: conventional, directed, or summative. All three approaches are used to interpret meaning from the content of text data and, hence, adhere to the naturalistic paradigm. The major differences among the approaches are coding schemes, origins of codes, and threats to trustworthiness. In conventional content analysis, coding categories are derived directly from the text data. With a directed approach, analysis starts with a theory or relevant research findings as guidance for initial codes. A summative content analysis involves counting and comparisons, usually of keywords or content, followed by the interpretation of the underlying context. The authors delineate analytic procedures specific to each approach and techniques addressing trustworthiness with hypothetical examples drawn from the area of end-of-life care.
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            Lost in knowledge translation: time for a map?

            There is confusion and misunderstanding about the concepts of knowledge translation, knowledge transfer, knowledge exchange, research utilization, implementation, diffusion, and dissemination. We review the terms and definitions used to describe the concept of moving knowledge into action. We also offer a conceptual framework for thinking about the process and integrate the roles of knowledge creation and knowledge application. The implications of knowledge translation for continuing education in the health professions include the need to base continuing education on the best available knowledge, the use of educational and other transfer strategies that are known to be effective, and the value of learning about planned-action theories to be better able to understand and influence change in practice settings.
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              A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies.

              The expansion of evidence-based practice across sectors has lead to an increasing variety of review types. However, the diversity of terminology used means that the full potential of these review types may be lost amongst a confusion of indistinct and misapplied terms. The objective of this study is to provide descriptive insight into the most common types of reviews, with illustrative examples from health and health information domains. Following scoping searches, an examination was made of the vocabulary associated with the literature of review and synthesis (literary warrant). A simple analytical framework -- Search, AppraisaL, Synthesis and Analysis (SALSA) -- was used to examine the main review types. Fourteen review types and associated methodologies were analysed against the SALSA framework, illustrating the inputs and processes of each review type. A description of the key characteristics is given, together with perceived strengths and weaknesses. A limited number of review types are currently utilized within the health information domain. Few review types possess prescribed and explicit methodologies and many fall short of being mutually exclusive. Notwithstanding such limitations, this typology provides a valuable reference point for those commissioning, conducting, supporting or interpreting reviews, both within health information and the wider health care domain.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Implement Sci
                Implementation Science : IS
                BioMed Central
                1748-5908
                2010
                20 September 2010
                : 5
                : 69
                Affiliations
                [1 ]School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University, 1400 Main Street West, Room 403, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
                [2 ]Department of Physical Therapy, University of Toronto, 160-500 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
                Article
                1748-5908-5-69
                10.1186/1748-5908-5-69
                2954944
                20854677
                Copyright ©2010 Levac et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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                Medicine

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