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Scoping Reviews: Quality Assessment

Created by Health Science Librarians

Role of the librarian in this stage

A librarian can advise you on quality assessment for your scoping review, including: 

  • What the quality assessment or risk of bias stage of the review entails
  • How to choose an appropriate quality assessment tool
  • Best practices for reporting quality assessment results in your review

Contact HSL About Your Review

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Ready to start a scoping review? HSL Librarians can help!

Fill out the Systematic/Scoping Review Request Form and the best-suited librarian will get back to you promptly. Our systematic/ scoping review service is only available to faculty, staff, students, and others who are affiliated with UNC Chapel Hill.

Scoping Reviews and Quality Assessment

One of the main differences between systematic and scoping reviews is found in the quality assessment stage. Quality assessment, or risk of bias, occurs when researchers assess individual studies, and the overall body of literature, for elements of bias. While necessary when undertaking a systematic review, quality assessment is not a required element of scoping reviews. 

If you decide quality assessment is a necessary component to meet your review's objectives, clearly state those objectives and rationale for completing in your review. When picking a quality assessment tool, make sure the study design it evaluates matches that/those of your included studies. Several examples of quality assessment tools are listed below and grouped by study design.

Using Covidence for Quality Assessment

Covidence uses Cochrane Risk of Bias (which is designed for rating randomized controlled trials and cannot be used for other study types) as the default tool for quality assessment of included studies. You can opt to manually customize the quality assessment template and use a different tool better suited to your review. More information about quality assessment using Covidence, including how to customize the quality assessment template, can be found below. If you decide to customize the quality assessment template, you cannot switch back to using the Cochrane Risk of Bias template.

Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses

Clinical Practice Guidelines

Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs)

Cohort Studies

Case-Control Studies

Cross-Sectional Studies

Diagnostic Studies

Economic Studies

Mixed Methods

Qualitative Studies