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					                                            What are scoping studies?
                            Procedures for rapidly gathered evidence
                                              Julie Robinson, Social Care Institute for Excellence
                                                          julie.robinson@scie.org.uk
                           Background:                                                          Aims:
                           Little research has been done on rapidly gathered                    To investigate different definitions and methods of
                           evidence, especially “scoping studies” and the                       scoping studies in health and social care and benchmark
                           methodologies associated with them.                                  SCIE’s own scoping procedure.



                           Methods:                                                            Results:
                                                                                               Scoping studies vary greatly; there is no common definition
                           Social Policy and Practice, Social Work Abstracts, Social           and the methodologies used also vary. The purpose of scopes
                           Services Abstracts, Age Info, Medicine, Social Care                 is broadly similar, with many being policy orientated and
                           Online, UK theses, LISA, IBSS, British Library Catalogue,           pointing the way to further research. SCIE’s scoping procedure
                           were searched in June 2009.                                         is methodologically sound, reasonably systematic, transparent
                                                                                               and robust. This approach is well suited to the social care area.


        Planning the scope                                           Conducting the scope                                       Results delivery and finishing
                                                              1.     Develop a search strategy                                  1. Present results
1.     Identify the need for the scope.
                                                              2.     Search and gather information using a
2.     Arrange timescales for conducting the
                                                                     range of sources                                           2. Full text retrieval
       scope
                                                              3.     Manage data with reference
3.     Prepare a proposal for the
                                                                     management and mind-mapping                                3. Obtain feedback
       scope/formulate a question
                                                                     software
4.     Conduct face-to-face reference
                                                              4.     Select studies to include in results                       4. Scope formally signed off
       interview.

Conclusions:
Scoping is still in the developmental stage in terms of procedural formality. Its main strength is the ability to get to the heart of a
wide range of information and evidence when specialist skills are applied. Is a more standardised approach needed to underpin
evidence-based practice?
Author affiliations:
Julie Robinson, Project Information Officer
Social Care Institute for Excellence
julie.robinson@scie.org.uk

				
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posted:10/28/2012
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