In 2014, JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports published a comprehensive methodology for the conduct and reporting of scoping reviews based on previous frameworks and guidance. Further work on scoping review methodology and particularly reporting is needed. To assist with refinements to the methodology, this survey was undertaken to evaluate users’ experiences of following the process methodology. An electronic survey was generated to explore authors’ experiences with the methodology and to seek feedback on the stages of scoping review development.
An online survey administered using Qualtrics – a secure survey platform – was distributed through invitations to a total of 51 registered users in the Joanna Briggs Database of Systematic reviews and Implementation reports. We analysed the questionnaire data using descriptive statistics. The qualitative data were grouped together, and free text comments were inductively themed and coded by the authors.
Thirty-one participants completed the survey (response rate of 61%). The majority of the participants identified themselves as researchers (55%) followed by educators (25%). Most participants were university employees (77%) and only 10% were based in hospitals. Forty-two percent of the participants reported that the scoping review they had been involved with had taken between 6 and 12 months, and 32% of participants spent over a year completing their reviews. Eighty-seven percent of participants stated that their scoping reviews led to further work such as developing a systematic review, a basis for a grant application, formation of a part of students’ doctoral studies, and informing further work in a research project. Some of the limitations listed by the participants were the lack of examples in each section of the methodology, especially in the inclusion criteria, and presentation of the results sections.
The overall evaluation by the participants of the JBI scoping review methodology highlighted the need for additional detailed guidance for inclusion criteria and presentation of the results. Provision of clear examples for each step was also requested for future improvement.