Western Libraries

Systematic & Scoping Reviews

Is a Systematic/Scoping Review Right for You?

Systematic Reviews and Scoping Reviews are types of literature reviews that use systematic methods to collect studies and each have their own complex steps.  ‘New’ researchers will experience a steep learning curve and should be prepared to be trained in the art of searching before the review is conducted. 

To help you understand the difference between a systematic or scoping review as well as provide you with a high-level overview of the work involved, please review the chart below.

  Systematic Review Scoping Review

A systematic review is a type of literature review that uses systematic methods to collect secondary data, critically appraise research studies, and synthesize findings qualitatively or quantitatively to answer a specific research question.

A scoping review differs from a systematic review in its purpose and aim. The purpose of a scoping review is to provide an overview of the available research evidence without producing a summary answer to a discrete research question.

Average Time to Complete Review 6 months to 1.5 years 9 months to 1 year
Minimum Number of People Require to Complete Review 2 2
Steps for Writing Your Review
  1. Formulate a specific question
  2. Develop a protocol
  3. Conduct search
  4. Select studies and assess study quality
  5. Extract data and analyze/summarize and synthesize relevant studies
  6. Interpret results
  1. Formulate a question
  2. Develop a protocol
  3. Conduct search
  4. Select studies 
  5. Summarize and synthesize relevant studies
  6. Report results and identify gaps and/or trends

If performing a systematic review, we highly recommend that you complete all of the Cochrane Interactive Learning Modules before you begin. 

Should you require support anytime throughout your research process and would like to book a research consult, please contact a member of the Western Libraries Systematic and Scoping Review Team.

If you determine a systematic or scoping review is NOT currently the right path for you and you need research support, please fill out this research consultation form.