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Background: The advancement of universal health coverage (UHC) is largely based on identifying and addressing barriers to accessing community health services. Traditional qualitative research approaches provide excellent insights but have unfeasibly high resource requirements for most care providers. Aim: To identify, categorise, and evaluate methods that have been used to identify barriers to and/ or solutions for improving access to community-based health services, grounded in engagement with affected communities, excluding approaches that take >14 days. Design & setting: This was a scoping review. Method: Following Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) guidelines, a search was undertaken using the Cochrane Library, Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, Ovid Global Health, and Google Scholar. An information specialist designed the search, and dual independent review and data charting were used. Results: In total, 44 studies were included from 30 countries, reporting on 18 different clinical services. Thirty studies used self-described ‘rapid’ approaches; however, the majority of these did not justify what they meant by this term. Nearly half of the studies used mixed- or multi-methods and triangulation to verify early findings. All of the qualitative studies used interviews and/or focus groups, which were often supplemented with observations, document review, and mapping activities. The use of in situ snowball and convenience sampling; community members as data collectors and cultural guides; collaborative summarisation (review of findings with community members and end-users); and deductive framework analysis expedited the research processes. There were no data on costs. Conclusion: There are a wide range of methods that can be used to deliver timely information about barriers to access. The methods employed in the articles reviewed tended to use traditional data collection approaches in innovative ways.

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