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Research Guides@Tufts

Systematic Reviews for Nutrition and Public Health

Evidence Mapping or Scoping Review

Evidence maps aim to identify all relevant literature within a research field in order to provide a comprehensive assessment of both what is known and where gaps in evidence exist.  The exisiting evidence can be organized in ways that relate not only to treatment and mangement decisions but also to the organization of clinical services. [Hetick SE et al. Evidence Mapping: illustrating an emergeing methodolgy to improve evidence-based practice in youth mental health. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 16 (2010) 1025--1030]

They often focus on broader research questions that are policy driven and do not include a risk-of-bias assessment step. [Young -I et al. the Application of Knowledge Syntehsis Methods i Agri-Food Public Health: Recent Advancements, Challenges and Opportunities. Preventive Veterinary  Medicine 113 (2014) 339 - 355]

Many different study designs might be included. It might not address the quality of the included studies.A scoping study might show the range, extent and nature of the research. It could serve to determine the value of a full systematic review.  It could also be a study  to show research findings for a field of study. [Arksey-H & O'Malley-L. Scoping Studies, Towards a Mthodological Framework. International Journal of Social Research Methodology  2005 8:1, 19-32]

Outline of an Evidence Map

Umbrella Reviews

An Umbrella Review offers the possibility of addressing a broad scope of issues related to a topic of interest. The wide picture
obtainable from the conduct of an Umbrella Review is also ideal in highlighting if the evidence base around a topic or question is consistent or if contradictory or discrepant findings exist, andin exploring and detailing the reasons why.
Umbrella Reviews are designed to incorporate all types of syntheses of research evidence,including systematic reviews in their various forms (effectiveness, meta-aggregative, integrative,etc.) and meta-analyses.

Rapid Review

Rapid Reviews research techniques to streamline the systematic review process.  They seek to form conclusions for policy makers and address questions of some urgency. To speed up the process limits are introduced into the searching and retrieval stages. Types of restrictions can include: publications that are readily available, short time spans, geographical area or service points. Documentation of the research methods and exclusion criteria is necessary to reveal the potential limitations of the research as they could impact bias and strength of the evidence.  [Ganann-R. et al. Expediting Systematic Reviews: Methods and Impliciitons of Rapid Reviews Implementation Science 2010 5: 56 .

PICO Alternatives

For some reviews the standard P (patient) I (intervention) C (comparison) O (outcome) tool is not optimal.

Here are some other ideas that might help to frame a search:


[ Beyond PICO: The SPIDER tool for Qualitative Evidence Synthesis, Cooke-A, Qualitative Health Research 2012 V. 22 (10) 1435 - 1443]

S = Sample

PI = Phenomenon of Interest

D = Design

E = Evaluation

R = Research Type


[Clear and Present Questions: Formulating Questions for Evidence Based Practice, Booth-A, Library Hi Tech 2006 V. 24 (3) 355-368]

S = Setting

P = Perspective

I = Intervention

C = Comparison

E = Evaluation


[How CLIP Became ECLIPSE: A Mnemonic to Assist in Searching for Health Policy/Management Information, Wildridge-V,  Health Information and Libraries Journal 2002 V. 19 113 - 115]

E = Expectation

C = Client Group

L = Location

I = Impact

P = Professionals

S = Service

Subject Guide

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Amy Lapidow
Tufts Hirsh Health Sciences Library
Research & Instruction
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Boston, MA 02111