Advancing methodology for scoping reviews: recommendations arising from a scoping literature review (SLR) to inform transformation of Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services

Article


Anderson, J. K., Howarth, E., Vainre, M., Humphrey, A., Jones, P. B. and Ford , T. J. 2020. Advancing methodology for scoping reviews: recommendations arising from a scoping literature review (SLR) to inform transformation of Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services. BMC Medical Research Methodology. 20 (Art. 242). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12874-020-01127-3
AuthorsAnderson, J. K., Howarth, E., Vainre, M., Humphrey, A., Jones, P. B. and Ford , T. J.
Abstract

Background

There is consensus that health services commissioning and clinical practice should be driven by scientific evidence. However, workload pressures, accessibility of peer reviewed publications and skills to find, appraise, and synthesise relevant evidence are often cited as barriers to uptake of research evidence by practitioners and commissioners alike. In recent years a growing requirement for rapid evidence synthesis to inform commissioning decisions about healthcare service delivery and provision of care contributed to an increasing popularity of scoping literature reviews (SLRs). Yet, comprehensive guidelines for conducting and reporting SLRs are still relatively scarce.

Methods

The exemplar review used as a worked example aimed to provide a readily available, comprehensive, and user-friendly repository of research evidence for local commissioners to help them make evidence-informed decisions about redesigning East of England Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services. In conducting the review, we were broadly guided by Arksey and O’Malley’s framework, however some modifications were made at different stages to better reflect the largely pragmatic objective of this review. This paper compares the methodology used with existing methodological frameworks for scoping studies, to add to the existing knowledge base.

Results

We proposed the following advancements to the existing SLR frameworks: (i) Assemble a research team with complementary skills and expertise; (ii); Draw on expertise of external partners, particularly practitioners, decision-makers and commissioners who will be translating findings into practice; (iii) Pre-register the review protocol. Keep a detailed record of all steps and decisions and consider how they would impact on generalisability and utility of review findings; (iv) Use systematic procedures for literature searchers, selection of studies, data extraction and analysis; (v) If feasible, appraise the quality of included evidence; (vi) Be transparent about limitations of findings.

Conclusions

Despite some methodological limitations, scoping literature reviews are a useful method of rapidly synthesising a large body of evidence to inform commissioning and transformation of CAMHS. SLRs allow researchers to start with a broader questions, to explore the issue from different perspectives and perhaps find more comprehensive solutions that are not only effective, but also accounted for their feasibility and acceptability to key stakeholders.

JournalBMC Medical Research Methodology
Journal citation20 (Art. 242)
ISSN1471-2288
Year2020
PublisherBMC
Accepted author manuscript
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Repository staff only
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Supplemental file
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Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1186/s12874-020-01127-3
Publication dates
Online29 Sep 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted22 Sep 2020
FunderNIHR Applied Research Collaboration East of England
Copyright holder© 2020 The Authors
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