Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Systematic Reviews

A guide for researchers beginning a medical systematic review or meta-analysis.

Team Members involved

The research question will typically be formulated by the Content Experts on the team and will include any inclusion/exclusion criteria necessary to produce a narrow and answerable question.  (Inclusion criteria are aspects of the study that must be present, Exclusion criteria are aspects which would automatically preclude a study from the review.)

PICO(T)

What is PICO(T)? 

PICO is a tool commonly used in medical and health research to help researchers formulate a question. The difficulty in creating a question is often underestimated and PICO can help us parse out the important keys a good question should contain. This is just a tool, not a rigid structure in which all questions must fit.

P = Patient, Population, and/or Problem

I = Intervention

C = Comparison (not always applicable)

= Outcome

T = *Type of Study (what study design is most appropriate to answer the question?)

Sometimes you will see PICO TT where the additional T stands for the type of question you are asking which you do need to know to determine the best study design. 

*In some PICO(T) models you will see T stand for time. This only works if your question includes a concept of time. 

Additional Guidance

The early chapters of these books have additional information on formulating a specific, answerable research question: