Scoping: eight question framework

This framework presents a structured way to review all the possibilities for understanding and acting on a complex problem. The questions are:

  1. “What do we know about the problem?
  2. What can different interest groups and academic disciplines contribute to addressing this problem?
  3. What areas are contentious?
  4. What are the big-picture issues? In other words, what are the political, social, and cultural aspects of the problem?


  1. Why is this problem on the agenda now?
  2. What support and resources are likely to be available for tackling the problem?
  3. What parts of the problem are already well covered and where are the areas of greatest need?
  4. Where can the most strategic interventions be made?

The first four questions help identify the dimensions of the problem, while the last four help set priorities.”

Reference: Bammer, G. (2013). Scoping public health problems. In Guest, C., Ricciardi, W., Kawachi, I., and Lang, I. (eds.). Oxford Handbook of Public Health Practice, 3rd edition. Oxford University Press: Oxford, United Kingdom, pp. 2-10.

Posted: December 2015
Last modified: October 2016