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Advancing the methodology of mapping reviews: A scoping review

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Fiona CampbellORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2024 The Authors. Research Synthesis Methods published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.This scoping review aims to identify and systematically review published mapping reviews to assess their commonality and heterogeneity and determine whether additional efforts should be made to standardise methodology and reporting. The following databases were searched; Ovid MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Campbell collaboration database, Social Science Abstracts, Library and Information Science Abstracts (LISA). Following a pilot-test on a random sample of 20 citations included within title and abstracts, two team members independently completed all screening. Ten articles were piloted at full-text screening, and then each citation was reviewed independently by two team members. Discrepancies at both stages were resolved through discussion. Following a pilot-test on a random sample of five relevant full-text articles, one team member abstracted all the relevant data. Uncertainties in the data abstraction were resolved by another team member. A total of 335 articles were eligible for this scoping review and subsequently included. There was an increasing growth in the number of published mapping reviews over the years from 5 in 2010 to 73 in 2021. Moreover, there was a significant variability in reporting the included mapping reviews including their research question, priori protocol, methodology, data synthesis and reporting. This work has further highlighted the gaps in evidence synthesis methodologies. Further guidance developed by evidence synthesis organisations, such as JBI and Campbell, has the potential to clarify challenges experienced by researchers, given the magnitude of mapping reviews published every year.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Khalil H, Campbell F, Danial K, Pollock D, Munn Z, Welsh V, Saran A, Hoppe D, Tricco AC

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Research Synthesis Methods

Year: 2024

Volume: 15

Issue: 3

Pages: 384-397

Print publication date: 01/05/2024

Online publication date: 02/01/2024

Acceptance date: 18/11/2023

ISSN (print): 1759-2887

ISSN (electronic): 1759-2879

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd


DOI: 10.1002/jrsm.1694