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Dissertation Subject Guide

including systematic reviews, literature reviews and scoping reviews

What is a scoping search?

The next step is to try out a few literature searches. These are also known as Scoping searches.

They are not comprehensive searches but you are looking to see if your topic area is reviewable.

For example, the scoping search results can quickly identify


too much published information =  narrow your topic focus
little published information available = widen your topic focus/look at from a different angle e.g. settings, age, 


Remember you need enough research to identify, critically appraise and synthesise information for your review. Can you widen the scope of your topic? Think about interventions, outcomes etc.


Where to search for Scoping Searches?

Once you've checked Cochrane and/or Prospero for current or published reviews, you could try a couple of these databases:


See the Google Scholar section in Why do I Need the Library...why can't I just use Google? for more advice, pros and cons of using Google Scholar

Scopus can be a great database for mental health searches