Consult the Qld Health Evidence Pyramid below - the best evidence based sources are at the top. Start there and work your way down as required:
The Links above are a range of resources for sourcing evidence based information, and assistance with formulating questions.
A systematic review is based on a pre-defined specific research question (Cochrane Handbook, 1.2.2). Well-formulated questions will guide many aspects of the review process, including determining eligibility criteria, searching for studies, collecting data from included studies, and presenting findings (Cochrane Handbook, 5.1.1).
The research question should be clear and focused - not too vague, too specific or too broad.
You may like to consider some of the techniques mentioned below to help you with this process. They can be useful but are not necessary for a good search strategy.
|Patient, Population||Intervention (or Exposure)||Comparison (or Control)
|Most important characteristics of patient (e.g. age, disease/condition, gender)||Main intervention (e.g. drug treatment, diagnostic/screening test)||Main alternative (e.g. placebo, standard therapy, no treatment, gold standard)||What you are trying to accomplish, measure, improve, affect (e.g. reduced mortality or morbidity, improved memory)|
A variant of PICO is PICOS. S stands for Study designs. It establishes which study designs are appropriate for answering the question, e.g. randomised controlled trial (RCT).
|Sample||Phenomenon of Interest||Design||Evaluation||Research type|
|Setting (where?)||Perspecitve (for whom?)||Intervention (what?)||Comparison (compared with what?)||Evaluation (with what result?)|
|Expectation (improvement or information or innovation)||Client group (at whom the service is aimed)||Location (where is the service located?)||Impact (outcomes)||Professionals (who is involved in providing/improving the service)||Service (for which service are you looking for information)|
Wildridge, V & Bell, L 2002, 'How clip became eclipse: A mnemonic to assist in searching for health policy/management information', Health Information & Libraries Journal, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 113-115.