Answered By: Lydia Dawe
Last Updated: Jun 27, 2022     Views: 10

A scoping search describes the process of searching the literature to get a sense of what has already been explored. Scoping searches help you determine:

  • The amount of existing literature on your topic
  • The nature of the literature on your topic: number of studies available, currency, controversies
  • Who the key authors are in a field
  • What some of the descriptive terms (keywords and subject headings) are
  • Whether you need to adjust the scope of your research question

Your scoping search should include general databases (e.g. FiNDit) as well as subject specific databases. If you are doing a systematic review, you should also search protocol registration databases, so you can make sure that no similar studies are currently underway. 

See the links below to visit the Subject Guide in your study area to find subject specific databases, and view a video on how to construct a basic strategy for a scoping search.