Carer Research and Knowledge Scoping Review

Larkin, Mary (2017). Carer Research and Knowledge Scoping Review. In: NIHR School for Social Care Conference 2017, 12 Apr 2017, LSE, London, UK.


There now a wealth of national and international evidence and knowledge about carers but it is currently highly fragmented and disparate. As a result it lacks accessibility, utility and coherence which significantly impedes its capacity to both inform research and practice and to generate new knowledge. This paper offers findings from an innovative and timely comprehensive scoping review of carer-related knowledge which will make a significant contribution to addressing this deficit. The review has two complementary purposes. It provides, for the first time, an academically robust and detailed mapping of carer-related evidence and knowledge and underpins a fully accessible web-based resource developed in partnership with, and hosted by, the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE). This resource will form part of SCIE’s suite of resources to support the implementation of the Care Act 2014.

The paper will outline the way that Arksey and O’Malley (2005) framework for scoping studies guided the methodological approach to this unique scoping review. The key findings about the nature of carer-related knowledge will also be discussed. This will include a description of the major themes identified, their frequencies and how these were organised into four main categories - Carer Variables, Type of Care, Impact of Care Support and Carers. These themes and categories were built into a representational ‘map’ of existing carer-related knowledge. This map will be presented together with an analysis of the gaps in knowledge that emerged, and reflections on those areas that are well researched, and those others that remain less travelled. At the end of the paper, an overview of the digital resource SCIE is developing for launch in 2017 and an outline of dissemination and impact plans will be provided.

Reference Arksey H. and O’Malley, L. (2005) ‘Scoping Studies: Towards a Methodological Framework.’ International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 8, 19-32

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