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Table 1 Brief overview of evidence mapping

From: An evidence map of actigraphy studies exploring longitudinal associations between rest-activity rhythms and course and outcome of bipolar disorders

Evidence Mapping
Evidence mapping is defined as-
“a form of knowledge synthesis that addresses an exploratory research question aimed at mapping key concepts, types of evidence, and gaps in research related to a defined area or field by systematically searching, selecting, and synthesizing existing understanding”
The gold standard methods used in evidence-based research are systematic review and meta-analysis. These classic approaches are both rigorous and provide readers with detailed information about narrow questions (e.g. the efficacy of drug X for disorder Y). However, developments from this archetypal model are now being developed to meet more diverse needs regarding evidence synthesis (Arksey 2003; Miake-Lye et al. 2016). The obvious example is the use of rapid reviews (which address urgent topics and do not always fully adhere to systematic methodologies) or scoping reviews (that identify extensive bodies of literature but do not usually provide detailed synthesis) (Colquhoun et al. 2014). In this context, evidence mapping has emerged as another process that allows researchers and their audience to develop an understanding of the extent and distribution of evidence in on a broad topic, highlighting what is known and also where gaps exist (Katz et al. 2003; Hetrick et al. 2010). Although it applies systematic and replicable methodology, the process is iterative, as expert consensus and preliminary literature searches inform the next steps in the review, so the final product is broader and less detailed than the traditional approaches (Vallarino et al. 2015). Furthermore, the goal is not to provide detailed statistical comparisons, but rather to offer an essential snapshot of what is or is not known at this moment in time. It is presumed that an evidence map for any given field will be followed up in the future when research develops to a point where it becomes justifiable to apply more formal reviews and pooled analyses
The depth of evidence synthesized will differ depending on its purpose of an evidence map e.g. an overview of the extent, range and nature of research activity might entirely exclude any details of study findings (Miake-Lye et al. 2016). However, if the latter are considered, they can be represented by graphs and figures, instead of or as well as a detailed table such as the summary tables provided in systematic reviews (Hetrick et al. 2010)
Given the proposed scope of this map, we determined that a simple written summary with basic tables and figures would be offered in the results section of the paper. A detailed Table summarizing sample characteristics and research findings (in an Appendix) and citations in the reference list only would ensure readers focused on key findings we summarize. Individual readers could then choose to examine supporting evidence and relevant references for themes that they wished to investigate further