Scoping projects

Scoping - a new approach for prioritising Cochrane ENT reviews

In 2016, we selected six topics on the medical management of chronic rhinosinusitis for new Cochrane reviews by using an innovative prioritisation process, which was based on a formal scoping project undertaken by a professional systematic reviewer in association with clinical experts. The chronic rhinosinusitis scoping project involved assessment of existing Cochrane and other reviews, comprehensive searches to estimate the amount of new evidence available and extensive discussion with and input from clinicians. We found this process to be a highly efficient way of developing these new reviews, as it allowed us to base all of them on an optimal, shared protocol with a well-designed and consistent set of outcome measures. Some older reviews in the Cochrane Library were also superseded by the new reviews and replaced. 

Cochrane globally is being encouraged to work more strategically to meet the needs of our funders and stakeholders so we are therefore currently working up a list of key topic areas within our scope, each of which we will subject to a similar formal ‘scoping’ project. We are at an early stage of developing the full list of topic areas on which we will conduct formal scoping, but we are likely to look initially at:

  • Balance
  • Tinnitus
  • Voice
  • Allergic rhinitis

A scoping project on chronic suppurative otitis media is already well underway, led by a team in Australia, with the first new reviews expected during 2017.