The scoping review protocol should describe the process of source selection for all stages of selection (based on title and abstract examination; based on full-text examination) and the procedures for solving disagreements between reviewers. Selection is performed based on inclusion criteria pre-specified in the review protocol. For any scoping review, source selection (both at title/abstract screening and full-text screening) is performed by two or more reviewers, independently. Any disagreements are solved by consensus or by the decision of a third reviewer.

There should be a narrative description of the process accompanied by a flowchart of review process (from the PRISMA-ScR statement) detailing the flow from the search, through source selection, duplicates, full-text retrieval, and any additions from third search, data extraction and presentation of the evidence. The software used for the management of the results of the search should be specified (e.g. Covidence, Endnote, JBI SUMARI). Details of full-text articles retrieved should be given. There should be separate appendices for details of included and a brief mention of the excluded sources, and for excluded sources; reasons should be stated on why they were excluded. We recommend some pilot testing of source selectors prior to embarking on source selection across a team. This will allow the review group to refine their guidance or source selection tool (if one is being used). One framework for pilot testing is described below:

  • Random sample of 25 titles/abstracts is selected
  • The entire team screens these using the eligibility criteria and definitions/elaboration document
  • Team meets to discuss discrepancies and make modifications to the eligibility criteria and definitions/elaboration document
  • Team only starts screening when 75% (or greater) agreement is achieved

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