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Scoping Review Guide

What we require from you

Before collaborating with you on your systematic review project, we ask that you provide the following:

  • Preliminary Search: The goals of the preliminary search include: identifying existing reviews, assessing volume of potentially relevant studies, and locate at least 3 example articles (benchmark articles) that meet your inclusion criteria
  • Your research question
  • Question in PCC Format
  • List of inclusion and exclusion criteria
  • A minimum of 3 example articles (benchmark articles) that meet the inclusion criteria for your scoping review
  • A timeline/schedule for completion of the scoping review project
  • A list of all members of your scoping review team

Once you have this information ready, please submit the [FORM LINK TO BE INSERTED HERE WHEN READY]. A librarian will be assigned to work with you on your project moving forward.

The collaborative process

Once we have received your scoping review request a librarian from our team will contact you to begin the collaborative work process:

  • We may request an in-person or phone meeting to discuss your question in more depth and discuss issues like timelines for completion. 
  • Your librarian will put together an initial list of search terms and an initial search strategy. You will be asked to review these for any missing terms, or to remove terms that might not be relevant for your question. 
  • After agreeing on the search terms, your librarian will translate the search strategy for multiple databases, usually 2-3 for a scoping review. You can discuss the best databases for your topic with your project librarian, but typically will include one or more of the following: Medline (Ovid or PubMed), Embase, Scopus, or Web of Science. 
  • Upon completion of the search you will receive the following:
    • A citation library (usually in Endnote, speak to your librarian about other software options)
    • A search methods document: includes every replicable search strategy and an explanation of search methods
    • An Excel workbook with all citations: can be helpful for tracking articles that are included/excluded from analysis
    • Optional: Covidence project account (Please speak to your project librarian about this option)


According to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, authorship should be based on the following four criteria:

  • Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
  • Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
  • Final approval of the version to be published; AND
  • Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

The search strategies librarians design and implement are a substantial contribution to the design of the study while the citation data we acquire and organize is a substantial acquisition of data. The written methods regarding the design of the search, resources searched, and data retrieved falls under drafting the work. We will provide any requested feedback and revisions as well as final approval of the written work. If we agree to be an author on a systematic review we will stand behind the accuracy and integrity of our role in the project. 

We ask that you do not include your collaborating librarian's search methods or search strategies in a published manuscript unless they are included as an author.

If you would prefer to not include a librarian as an author we are happy to provide guidance on a scoping review search you design on your own.