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Retired Guide - Systematic Review (SR) Service: STEP 1: Framing the question

Collaborate with a MSK Research Informationist to publish your Systematic Review.

Framing the question

It is important that you formulate your research question that will be the basis of your systematic review.  Use the PICO framework: Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome - which will help your research informationist group search terms into thematic categories.

There are some journals that are now requiring registration of systematic reviews and meta-analyzes prior to publication. These include: The Lancet, PLOS, BMJ and JAMA Dermatology (to name a few). Registration increases transparency and dissemination of research outcomes. The International Prospective Registry of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO) is the largest registry focused on systematic reviews of heath outcomes.  There is no charge for this service and it was designed to be complementary to the Cochrane Library. We recommend that users further explore this step with their research informationist.

Research Informationist’s support:

1. A preliminary search is done to determine if recent systematic reviews exist on your topic.   
2. Assist with narrowing and refining the PICO question. 
3. Explore registering your systematic review in PROSPERO.

NEXT: STEP 2: Assembling the team 

Selected references:
* Pieper D, Rombey T. Where to prospectively register a systematic review. Syst Rev. 2022 Jan 8;11(1):8. 

* Eriksen MB,  Frandsen TF. The impact of patient, intervention, comparison, outcome (PICO) as a search strategy tool on literature search quality: a systematic review. J Med Libr Assoc 2018 Oct;106(4):420-431.

* Page MJ, Shamseer L, Tricco A.  Registration of systematic reviews in PROSPERO: 30,000 records and counting. Syst Rev. 2018 Feb 20;7(1):32.

* Squires JE, Valentine JC, Grimshaw JM. Systematic reviews of complex interventions: framing the review question. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. 2013;66(11):1215-22. 

* Agoritsas T, Merglen A, Courvoisier DS, Combescure C, Garin N, Perrier A, Perneger TV. Sensitivity and predictive value of 15 PubMed search strategies to answer clinical questions rated against full systematic reviews. J Med Internet Res. 2012;14(3):e85.

* Parfrey P, Ravani P. On framing the research question and choosing the appropriate research design. Methods in molecular biology. 2009;473:1-17.