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Table 1 Search method, following six-stage framework outlined by Arksey and O’Malley (2005)

From: Understanding gender norms, nutrition, and physical activity in adolescent girls: a scoping review

Stage 1: Defining the research question For this review, the research question was, “What is known from the existing literature about how gender norms are understood in relation to the health-related behaviors of PA and nutrition in young girls?”
Stage 2: Identifying all relevant studies The majority of literature was identified through database searching, which was followed by hand searching of reference lists, key journals, and authors [10]. Relevant networks were also contacted, such as a local initiative promoting girls’ health, to identify further evidence. A meeting was held with a university library subject specialist to identify a search strategy for the databases EMbase, PubMed, and EBSCOHost. The library specialist helped identify indexed subject headings: the concept of PA, for example, is identified by “exercise”, “physical fitness”, and “sports”, dependent on the database. Key word search strategies were developed, including “gender”, “physical activity”, “nutrition”, and “girls”. Variations for each keyword were combined with the “OR” operator to maximize results. The search function ‘AND’ was used to identify articles with a focus on both nutrition and PA, although articles with either PA or nutrition were also retrieved.
Stage 3: Study selection An iterative process was used to establish inclusion and exclusion criteria as an understanding of the literature developed [10,11]. Inclusion criteria involved limiting the search to include English articles published since January 1, 1999 involving female adolescents aged 10–19 years. The most important criteria were that documents included examination of gender norms, roles, ideals, or stereotypes, and were in some way were connected to PA and/or nutrition. To ensure included articles focused on the sociocultural construct of gender norms, studies were excluded if they were centered on sex rather than gender, medicine, biology, physiology, or basic science. Adhering to the method of Arksey and O’Malley (2005), quality assessment is beyond the scope of this study.
Stage 4: Interpreting and synthesising Data were interpreted and synthesized through charting the data. A narrative approach was used to create a chart for study characteristics such as year, place, participants, objectives, methods, measures, and results (summarized in Table 2) [10].
Stage 5: Summarizing and reporting Results were summarized in order to present an overview of the evidence [10,11]. Quantitative and qualitative analyses were used to describe study characteristics [10]. These analyses allowed major themes and gaps in the literature to be identified, through noting commonality across the chart described above, the results of which are described further below [10].
Stage 6: Consultation This stage, considered optional, allows involving experts in the review process and, for this study, was incorporated during stage 2, as it made sense to engage organizations in the search process [10]. A briefing note summarizing the review for policy makers furthered this stage as an act of knowledge translation.