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Systematic Reviews

Frameworks for Systematic Review Research Questions

PICO is the most common and well-known standard framework for medical and health systematic reviews, but there are many frameworks that address different disciplines and different types of research questions.


Discipline/Question Type

PICO (Richardson et al. 1995)
Patient, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome
Clinical medicine
BeHEMoTh (Booth and Carroll 2015)
Behavior of interest, Health context (service/policy/ intervention), Exclusions, Models or Theories
Questions about theories
CHIP (Shaw 2010)
Context How Issues Population
Psychology, qualitative
CIMO (Denyer and Tranfield 2009)
Context Intervention Mechanisms Outcomes
Management, business, administration
CLIP (Wildridge and Bell 2002)
Client group, Location of provided service, Improvement/Information/ Innovation Professionals
Librarianship, management, policy
COPES (Gibbs 2003)
Client-Oriented, Practical, Evidence, Search
Social work, health care, nursing
ECLIPSE (Wildridge and Bell 2002)
Expectation, Client, Location, Impact, Professionals, SErvice,
Management, services, policy, social care
PEO (Kahn et al. 2003)
Population, Exposure, Outcome
PECODR (Dawes et al. 2007)
Patient/population/problem, Exposure, Comparison, Outcome, Duration, Results
PESICO (Schlosser and O’Neil-Pirozzi 2007)
Person Environments Stakeholders Intervention Comparison Outcome
Augmentative and alternative communication
PICO specific to diagnostic tests (Kim et al. 2015)
Patients/participants/population, Index tests, Comparator/reference tests, Outcome
Clinical medicine
PICO+ (Bennett and Bennett 2000)
Patient, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome, +context, patient values, and preferences
Occupational therapy
PICOC (Petticrew & Roberts, 2006)
Patient, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome, Context
Social sciences
PICOS (Moher et al. 2009)
Patient, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome, Study type
PICOT (Richardson et al. 1995)
Patient, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome, Time
Education, health care
PIPOH (ADAPTE Collaboration 2009)
Population, Intervention, Professionals, Outcomes, Health care setting/context
Diagnostic questions
ProPheT (Booth et al. 2016)
Problem, Phenomenon of interest, Time
SPICE (Booth 2004)
Setting, Perspective, Interest, Comparison, Evaluation
Social sciences, qualitative, library science
SPIDER (Cooke et al. 2012)
Sample, Phenomenon of Interest, Design, Evaluation, Research type
Library and information sciences
Who What How
Health, qualitative research

Adapted from Foster, M. J., & Jewell, S. T. (Eds.). (2017). Assembling the pieces of a systematic review : A guide for librarians.

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