This is a version of the LibGuide I started while employed at Temple University Health Sciences Library from July 2015-September 12, 2022. I plan to maintain it here going forward.
Other names for a Mapping Review
Mapping Evidence Review, Mapping Study, Mapping Review, Mapping Exercise, Systematic Map
What is a Mapping Review?
Mapping reviews are focused on a visual synthesis of the data and are question based rather than topic based like the scoping review.
Mapping reviews are best designed for:
- When there is an abundance and a diversity of research.
- As a first step to a systematic review.
- To identify gaps in a topic area.
What is a Mapping Review? Outline of Stages
Timeframe: 12+ months, (same amount of time as a systematic review or longer) *Varies beyond the type of review. Depends on many factors such as but not limited to: resources available, the quantity and quality of the literature, and the expertise or experience of reviewers” (Grant et al. 2009)
Question: Questions are of a wider scope than a systematic review. A priori review protocol is recommended.
Sources and searches: Rapid/as time allows searching aimed to give a broad overview, still aims to be thorough and repeatable. In some cases a mapping review may be limited to a certain type of article–may be limited to just review articles, just peer reviewed journals or just grey literature/research in progress. Must include a PRISMA flow diagram.
Selection: Based on inclusion/exclusion criteria. May require more time spent screening articles due to the larger volume of studies from covering a wider scope. Also necessary to group studies for the mapping of included studies.
Appraisal: None, only if appropriate, includes a quality assessment of study bias/validity.
Synthesis: (Graphical or Tabular, less narrative) Visual synthesis and classification of the available studies. A high level map visualizing the status of the field related to the research question.
(Sources: Petticrew and Roberts (2006), Peterson et al. (2008), Booth et al. (2016).
Limitations of a Mapping Review
- The broad nature and rapid search may mean that some articles will be missed.
- May take time and require additional expertise or training for creating the visual output.
- Inconsistency in the conduct of mapping reviews.
Examples of a Mapping Review
- COVID-19-A Living Evidence Map
- Centre Homelessness Impact-Evidence and Gap Maps
- An Evidence map of the effect of Tai Chi on health outcomes (2016)
- An Evidence Map of Research Linking Dietary Sugars to Potentially Related Health Outcomes (2018)
- The Use of Technology in the Clinical Care of Depression: An Evidence Map (2018)
- Lorenc, et al. Crime, fear of crime, environment, and mental health and wellbeing: Mapping review of theories and causal pathways (2012).
This is an example of a mapping review of complex interventions.
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