Skip to Main Content

Start of breadcrumb trail navigation

SWK6504H – Conducting and Publishing Scoping Reviews - Elective

Open to all PhD students. Open to MSW students with restrictions.

Scoping reviews have become an essential element of academic and professional research. Scoping reviews are conducted to identify research gaps, to explore conceptual and methodological issues, and to establish the state of the evidence on a particular topic. PhD students have been increasingly undertaking scoping reviews to support comprehensive or thesis work or to publish in their areas of interest; however, they often lack a methodological foundation and experience to support a rigorous review. This course will provide the basis for understanding the purposes, types, and methods of scoping reviews, including PRISMA-ScR (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses—Scoping Review) guidelines as well as innovative approaches. Students will work with the instructor, with input from a U of T research librarian, writing instructor, advanced PhD students, and in peer review with other students, to hone their research question and objectives, develop a search strategy with search terms and appropriate databases, and identify study inclusion/exclusion criteria. Students will then implement a search on select databases, use Covidence software to manage the review process, and conduct data extraction and synthesis of select studies. Students will then write up a pilot review and gain knowledge and skills in selecting an appropriate 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 scoping review methods and preliminary findings to create a foundation for scoping review manuscript development and publication.

Admission to the course is open to all PhD students in the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. For MSW students as well as graduate students from other faculties, please submit a 1–2-page sample of your writing (preferably research-focused) and a 1/2-page description of what topic you intend to focus on in the course. Both are required to be submitted to the instructor before being approved to register. Inquiries about the course and/or writing samples and your intended research focus can be submitted to Prof. Newman by e-mail (; please include “SWK6504-2023” in the e-mail subject line.