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Step 1 Formulate a focused question

Formulate a focused question

Systematic reviews appraise and synthesize primary research papers on a defined and focused research question. 

The first step in undertaking a systematic review is to develop a focused question. It is advisable to check that a recent review has not already been published on your question.

Systematic reviews can address many types of question such as; Exploration/Etiology, Prediction/Prognosis, Intervention/Therapy or Diagnosis questions.

Frameworks have been developed to assist in formulating questions such as;

PICO for clinical questions; 

Quantitative: PICO

P

I

C

O

Patient, Population or Problem

Intervention or exposure

Comparison

Outcome

What are the characteristics of the patient or population?

 

 What is the condition or disease you are interested in?

What do you want to do with this patient (e.g. treat, diagnose, observe)?

What is the alternative to the intervention (e.g. placebo, different drug, surgery)?

What are the relevant outcomes (e.g. morbidity, death, complications)?

 

 

Qualitative: PICo

P

I

Co

Population

Interest

Context

What are the characteristics of the patient or population?

 

What is the condition or disease you are interested in?

The phenomena of Interest relates to a defined event, activity, experience or process

Context is the setting or distinct characteristics.

 

Note: Context not comparator

 
See 'Getting Started with PICO' video for more details
 
SPICE for qualitative evidence;

S

P

I

C

E

Setting

Perspective

Intervention

Comparison

Evaluation

Where?

For whom?

What)?

Compared to what?

With what result?

 

Booth, A. (2006). Clear and present questions: Formulating questions for evidence based practice. Library Hi Tech, 24(3), 355-368. doi:10.1108/07378830610692127

 SPIDER for qualitative and mixed methods;

 

S

PI

D

E

R

Sample

Phenomena of Interest

Design

Evaluation

Research type

 

Cooke, A., Smith, D., & Booth, A. (2012). Beyond PICO: The SPIDER tool for qualitative evidence synthesis. Qualitative Health Research, 22(10), 1435-1443. doi:10.1177/1049732312452938

 

​ECLIPSE for Health services/policy/management

 

Expectation

Client group

Location

Impact

Professionals

Service

 

Expectation, improvement or innovation

For whom is the service or potential impact?

 

What is the change in the service being investigated? What would constitute success? How is this being measured?

 

 

 

 

Wildridge, V., & Bell, L. (2002). How CLIP became ECLIPSE: A mnemonic to assist in searching for health policy/ management information. Health Information and Libraries Journal, 19(2), 113-115. doi:10.1046/j.1471-1842.2002.00378.x