A range of support is available. To ensure mutual understanding, these are the first steps to work through.
- Do you need a systematic search or are you just looking for some references on a topic? If you are OK for a librarian to search and select some references to forward to you without providing any documentation on the process, request a general literature search.
- If you are studying at university and a requirement of your course is to complete a search strategy yourself, your university librarians should be able to assist. Limited guidance will be provided from this library.
- More assistance is available if your research is endorsed and supported by the health service.
Need more than that?
- Formulate your initial question - it's not all PICO - there are many question frameworks described in a paper on formulating questions that may work better if you have questions on topics other than interventions - BeHEMoTH, CHIPS, CoCoPop, ECLIPSE, SPICE, SPIDER and more
- Request a scoping search - either a formalised, PRISMA for Scoping Reviews level search that requires extensive documentation, or a more general review of the literature to get a picture of the volume and scope of the literature on a topic.
- Reformulate your question using the question framework chosen
- Decide upon the type of study you want to do (taking into consideration the reporting requirements for different study designs)
- Consider the level of search support and documentation you will require for your study design.
How systematic is your review? This is an important question to consider upfront. See this paper:
Systematic and Other Reviews: Criteria and Complexities. Editorial Sataloff RT, et al. Laryngoscope. 17 May 2021
A selection of links to guidance or quality measures for review types.