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Table 2 Scoping Study Terminology Preferences from Responses to the Scoping Study Questionnaire

From: Advancing scoping study methodology: a web-based survey and consultation of perceptions on terminology, definition and methodological steps

Terminology preference Example quotations
Scoping review •“It is a review of the literature in this area similar to a systematic review. A study seems reserved from primary research with study participants.”
• “Seems to me that the term review is more specific than study, and that’s what it seems to be: a review of the existing literature.”
• “The name should reflect that standard review methods are used: search strategy, selection, data abstraction, and analysis (even if only descriptive). Reviews are still studies. Are some scoping studies not reviews?”
• “The method is a form of a review of primary literature. Some scoping reviews gather primary data in the form of a stakeholder consultation but that is for the purpose of directing the synthesis and that alone does not provide a rationale for using the term ‘study’. We can limit terminology issues by choosing one term and of the two, study or review, review is a more accurate description of what it is.”
• “The methodology of the scoping review is consistent with methods of evidence synthesis such as systematic reviews and meta-analysis methods, thus using the term ‘review’ defines the methodology more clearly than ‘study’.”
• “The term “review” aligns with the purpose of the research (that at least I was aiming to use the methodology for). It was to review what was published in the literature, and to do so in a somewhat systematic way. Although it technically is a “study”, calling it a “review” seems to be more precise in my mind.”
Scoping study • “Takes into account the analysis (thematic) component which differs from mere summary or synthesis in other types of reviews.”
• “Use of the term scoping review positions this type of study in a hierarchical relationship with systematic review. Scoping studies have distinct goals and thus should be viewed as distinct entities and not as “less than” systematic reviews.”
• “Additionally, the intent is not only to review the literature but to conceptualize it in a manner that speaks to the research question. I do not feel that the term ‘review’ covers the extent of analytic work of this type of study.”
• “Clearer language. The use of the term “study” would also help to move away from scoping review, which seems to have become a catch-all term for everything that is not a systematic review.”
• “Encompasses the entire methodology - the literature (or evidence) review phase as well as the consultation phase. It is also the original term coined by Arksey and O’Malley.”
Unsure; no opinion; depends on the study • “I see advantages and disadvantages to both. I need better understanding of methodology to better answer the question.”
• “It should be either, depending on whether or not something other than a review (e.g. a scoping survey) is carried out.”