Scoping reviews in occupational therapy: The what, why, and how to

Carol McKinstry, Ted Brown, Louise Gustafsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Background/aim: Scoping reviews are a method of identifying, locating, analysing and summarising relevant empirical literature and research findings on a nominated topic. A description of scoping reviews is provided with examples that have been published in the occupational therapy and related literature and outline of the uses of scoping reviews for research and in evidence-based practice. Methods: Recent occupational therapy literature was searched to identify occupational therapy-related scoping reviews published in the refereed literature and to identify the methodologies used and topics covered. Results: A limited range of scoping reviews was located and a summary of their results is provided as examples of scoping reviews in the occupational therapy field. Conclusion: The scoping review methodology is an efficient and effective approach for locating, analysing, summarising and presenting available literature and research findings on a particular topic. In comparison to a systematic review, it does not have the same high level of rigour, however does provide a general overview of the literature using a structured methodology to ensure consistency. The methodology of scoping reviews is effective for researchers where there is limited high level evidence available about a topic that would be required by a systematic review and provides an efficient way of identifying previous research and current knowledge gaps. Although there has been some scoping reviews published, it is predicted that there will be an increase in the future when the use of scoping reviews in occupational therapy is more fully realised and operationalised. © 2013 Occupational Therapy Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-66
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Occupational Therapy Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Literature critique
  • Methodology
  • Scoping review

Cite this