Deep or Wide? How the Scoping Review Process Cultivates Researchers' Self-Reflection Skills


Occupational therapists have been particularly interested in sensory processing and how one’s patterns of sensory processing affect everyday life decisions and actions. There has been a lot of basic science work in neuroscience about sensory processing without translation of this information to people’s everyday lives. About 50 years ago, applied science researchers such as occupational therapists, educators, and physicians began testing applications of neuroscience knowledge to everyday activities, behaviors, and conditions. With these efforts, work has been accumulating in many fields, but there has been little integration of the interprofessional knowledge about sensory processing and its impact on living. In this case study, we describe the experience of collecting, summarizing, and integrating a wide range of scientific work about how sensory processing affects children’s participation in everyday life. We selected a scoping review as our format because we wanted to illustrate the breadth of information available from many sources; other review methods are more specific and narrow and would necessarily remove some interesting work that needed to be acknowledged. Scoping reviews illuminate the many possible ways to examine a common thread of an idea without judgment about the disparate methods in the studies. Scoping reviews provide a gestalt view of a topic, exposing the readers to immense possibilities, leaving the detailed analysis of each methodology and integrity of findings to other studies and methods.

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