There are several different methods researchers might use in developing a research question. The best method to use depends on the discipline and nature of the research you hope to review. Consider the following example question templates.
Using PICO can help you define and narrow your research question so that it is specific.
Think about whether your question is relevant to practitioners, and whether the answer will help people (doctors, patients, nurses) make better informed health care decisions.
You can find out more about properly formulated questions through CEBM and Gumberg.
The PICO method is used frequently, though there are some variations that exist to add other specifications to studies collected. Some variations include PICOSS, PICOT, and PICOC.
Using SPIDER can help you define and narrow your research question so that it is specific. This is typically used in qualitative research (Cooke, Smith, & Booth, 2012).
Yet another search measure relating to Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) is SPICE. This framework builds on PICO by considering two additional axes: perspective and setting (Booth, 2006).
Setting inclusion and exclusion criteria is a critical step in the systematic review process.
These criteria will be used at different parts of the review process, including in search statements and the screening process.
After developing the research question, it is necessary to confirm that the review has not previously been conducted (or is currently in progress).
Make sure to check for both published reviews and registered protocols (to see if the review is in progress). Do a thorough search of appropriate databases; if additional help is needed, consult a librarian for suggestions.