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Using Covidence for Systematic and Scoping Reviews

Systematic vs. Scoping Reviews

"A systematic review attempts to identify, appraise and synthesize all the empirical evidence that meets pre-specified eligibility criteria to answer a given research question. Researchers conducting systematic reviews use explicit methods aimed at minimizing bias, in order to produce more reliable findings that can be used to inform decision making” (Cochrane Library, n.d.).

"Scoping reviews, a type of knowledge synthesis, follow a systematic approach to map evidence on a topic and identify main concepts, theories, sources, and knowledge gaps” (Levac et al., 2010).

The table below shows the main differences between systematic and scoping reviews.


Systematic reviews

Scoping reviews


Team-based (multiple authors)

One or more authors

Research question

Focused question

Focused or broad question(s)

Eligibility criteria

Set/fixed/developed a priori


Search strategy

Set/fixed/developed a priori

Iterative, revisions acceptable


Smaller result set

Larger result set




Protocol and reporting guideline




Critically appraised formal synthesis

Overview and thematic

About Cochrane Reviews | Cochrane Library. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Levac, D., Colquhoun, H., & O’Brien, K. K. (2010). Scoping studies: Advancing the methodology. Implementation Science, 5(1), 69.

Review Guides

Databases Commonly Used for Review Searches

The following databases are most commonly used to conduct systematic and scoping reviews. However, you should defer to the most common databases for your specific discipline.

Access Covidence


If you have never used Covidence before, visit the NC A&T Covidence Sign-Up page and enter your name and NC A&T email on the sign in page. You will then receive an email inviting you to Covidence. Follow the link in the email and click on "Create an Account." 

For help using Covidence, contact the HCHHS Librarian via the box on the left side of the page.