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Systematic Reviews and other Evidence Syntheses

Develop a Research Question

The first step in the systematic review process is to create a focused, well-defined research question. The question needs to be structured using a framework such as PICO which stands for Patient, Intervention, Comparison, and Outcome. There are many other frameworks available, use the best one to fit your topic.

Using PICO to Formulate Clinical Foreground Questions

PICO is a mnemonic used to describe the four elements of a good clinical question. It stands for:

P - Patient/Problem/Population
I - Intervention
C - Comparison
O - Outcome
(T) -
Time (when applicable)

For Diagnosis, you may consider using:

P - Patient
I - Test
C - Standard
O - Outcome

For Prognosis, an alternative could be:

P- Patient
I - Prognostic Factors
C - Absence of Prognostic Factor
O - Outcome (ex. Mortality)

For Risk/etiology/harm

P- Patient
I - Risk Factor
C - Absence of Risk Factor
O - Outcome

Here are links for more information.

Develop a Research Question using Standards & Guidelines

Has Your Question Already Been Answered?

Before starting your search, make sure that someone else has not already done the same or similar work. Check PubMed, Google Scholar, and PROSPERO, the international prospective register of protocols for systematic reviews, before your search.