Scoping Reviews: Expanding Methodological Approaches to Literature Reviews in Adult Education

Anita Samuel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Literature reviews map the research landscape in a topic area, identify gaps that new research can address, or frame a future research project. Literature reviews inform research and are integral to developing evidence-based policies. In adult education, systematic, critical, integrative, and historical reviews have been conducted. Scoping reviews, however, have yet to be widely adopted, although they can provide adult educators with a systematic process for reviewing a heterogeneous body of literature in adult education. This article explores why scoping reviews are a good fit for adult education and presents a systematic approach to conducting scoping reviews. The paper presents an expanded nine-step scoping review process that begins with the conception of an idea and ends with writing a manuscript for publication. The article discusses best practices, highlights challenges, and provides suggestions to help adult education researchers avoid common pitfalls when conducting scoping reviews.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAdult Learning
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • knowledge synthesis
  • literature review
  • scoping review


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