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 Some older reviews in the Cochrane Library were also superseded by the new reviews and replaced. 

A scoping project on chronic suppurative otitis media, led by a team in Australia, is now complete with the first new reviews expected during 2019. A similar scoping project on tinnitus, led by the NIHR Nottingham Hearing BRC, has also been conducted with the first reviews published in 2018.

Cochrane globally is being encouraged to work more strategically to meet the needs of our funders and stakeholders so we are therefore planning work on more key topic areas within our scope, each of which we will subject to a similar formal ‘scoping’ project.

Our next scoping prioritisation projects will be on:

  • Balance disorders
  • Otitis media with effusion ('glue ear')

Future scoping areas may include:

  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Voice
  • Otitis externa
  • Epistaxis