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Systematic Reviews: Develop a Research Question

Step 1: 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.
Please review all steps before starting your review.  

Develop Questions Based on Review Type

Developing systematic review questions

Systematic review questions usually follow a framework (e.g. PICO, SPIDER, Eclipse, COPES). These questions are specific and usually are comparative. Always evaluating quality. Usually going for a practice change. Your question will clearly define your search variables.

Example Health Sciences Question:

Are intranasal steroids or oral antihistamines better at controlling allergic rhinitis in adults?

Example Social Sciences Question:

Is meditation with peers or meditation with adults more effective in reducing incidence of bullying within K-12 students?

Developing scoping review questions:

The questions are much more broad in context. They tend to answer questions of gaps in or mapping the existing literature. When developing a scoping review question you must clearly defined your variables.

Example Health Sciences Question:

How does hearing loss affect physical fitness or sport engagement?

Example Social Sciences Question:

What are the ethical considerations in online ethnographic research with military populations?

Learn about other review types:

Foundational Literature on Methodologies

Standards & Guidelines