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SWK 6503H – Conducting and Publishing Systematic and Scoping Reviews - Elective

Conducting scoping reviews and other systematic reviews has become an essential skill for academic researchers, including PhD students. Scoping reviews are conducted to identify research gaps, to explore conceptual and methodological issues, and serve to establish the state of the evidence in a particular field. PhD students have been increasingly undertaking scoping reviews to support their thesis work; however, they often lack a methodological foundation to support a rigorous review. This course will provide the basis for understanding the purposes, types, and methods of scoping reviews, including PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines and innovative approaches. Students will work with the instructor, with input from UofT research librarians, and in peer review with other students, to hone their research question and objectives; develop a search strategy with search terms and appropriate databases; identify inclusion/exclusion criteria; implement the search using Covidence software; and conduct data extraction and synthesis. In the second half of the course, students will write up their review and gain knowledge and skills in selecting a target journal, crafting an abstract and cover letter, and navigating the journal submission process, with individual feedback from the instructor. The final assignment is a draft of a manuscript that may be submitted for publication.

Admission to the course is open to PhD students in the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. MSW students and graduate students from other faculties must submit a 1–2-page sample of your writing (preferably research-focused) and a 1/2-page description of what you intend to focus on in the course. Both are to be submitted to the instructor before being approved to register. Inquiries about the course and/or writing samples and your intended course focus can be submitted to Prof. Newman by e-mail (; please include “SWK6503” in the e-mail subject line.