Systematic reviews

Formulate a research question

A well-defined research question is your key to a successful search. It is important that you formulate and delimit your topic and define what you want to find information about. The research question is essential and lays the foundation for all the following steps in the search process.

One way to structure the research question is to break it down into its components. In this process, you can be helped by different acronyms. We want to emphasize that acronyms are never the goal in themselves, but merely tools that will help you identify significant themes in your research question.

You can narrow down your research question by defining inclusion and exclusion criteria and in that way specify which criteria the results must meet in order for them to be of interest to you. These criteria facilitate both the search and when you later in the process have to make a selection of which material you should include in your study.