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Scoping Reviews

Formulate Question

Types of Research Questions for Scoping Reviews

Scoping Reviews are broad by nature. As the name suggests, their purpose is to identify the scope of the literature on a topic. Therefore, the research questions that a Scoping Review can answer are also broad. Questions appropriate for Scoping Review methodology include:

  • What has been done?
  • What populations have been included?
  • What progress has been made in the research?
  • Does enough literature exist to conduct a systematic review?


What is known from the literature about the use of animal-assisted therapies in people with mood disorders?

Developing your Research Question

Formulating a research question (RQ) may require some initial searching on your topic, especially if it is one you haven't already researched. There are three primary elements of a Scoping Review RQ. However, not all RQs need to include all 3:

  1. Population
  2. Intervention
  3. Outcome

As you develop your research question, it is helpful to define your key concepts. This will help with the development of your inclusion criteria as well as your search strategy.

For example, what do you mean by adolescent? What age range are you including?

If you would like further help formulating your RQ, there are frameworks that can help as well as provide the foundational elements for your search strategy. Most of these frameworks were developed for the more specific RQs involved in Systematic Reviews, but they can also be helpful in thinking through your Scoping Review RQ.

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