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Systematic Reviews

Review Questions

Systematic Review Questions

Choose a research topic you are interested in, that is related to your practice and worth investigating for others in profession. Is there a gap in the existing knowledge or research.  Finally is there a "so what" reason for the investigation, can anyone use the results?

Define your question at the start of your planning, it will help you in the long run to focus on the information you are looking for, help define the inclusion and exclusion criteria and in the formulation of your search strategies. Define the aims and objectives of your review.  It is also helpful to keep you questions focused for the purposes of systematic reviews. 

You can start with a problem that you want to solve and then convert it into a review style question.

A problem question could be:

It is not known if mechanical ventilation is more effective than cpap ventilation when treating patients with Covid-19

Review Question

Your problem question could be reframed as a review question:

Is  mechanical ventilation or cpap ventilation more effective for treating patients with Covid-19 .

Aim of the review is:

Aim is to solve the problem and answer the question.
The aim of this study is to evaluate if there is a difference between mechanical ventilation and cpap ventilation


Objectives of the review 

Objectives normally state what the reviewer is going to do to complete the review.

• Collect data on the effectiveness of mechanical ventilation and cpap ventilation

• Compare the effectiveness of the two treatments

• Compare the findings of this study with other studies

• Provide guidelines for clinicians on treatment options.


Title of review

A systematic literature review comparing the effectiveness of mechanical ventilation to cpap ventilation when treating patients with Covid-19





Use templates to help formulate your search, define what or who your are going to include in study.  Is your target population going to be age range, and/or male or female, any other defining characteristics eg cancer survivors or obesity?  What intervention are looking at and which are you excluding?  What languages are you searching - English language only?  What date range? Methodology employed?

PICO Template Inclusion Exclusion
PEO Template Inclusion Exclusion


Other tools

There are other models you can use for your inclusion/exclusion criteria

  • PICOST As PICO but with additional areas to consider: Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome, Situation, Type of Study
  • PICOT  As PICO - Population, Intervention, Comparison, Situation, Type of Study
  • PEO: Population and/or Problem, Exposures, Outcome
  • PCC: Population, Concept, and Context [often used in Scoping Reviews]
  • PESTEL: Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal Factors
  • SPICE: Setting, Population or Perspective, Intervention, Comparison, Evaluation
  • ECLIPS [management and service related issues]: Expectations, Client Group, Location, Impact, Professionals Involved, Service
  • MIP [medical ethics review]: Methodology, Issues, Participants
  • SPIDER: Sample, Phenomenon of interest, Design, Evaluation, Research type