RLO: Steps in conducting a systematic review


  1. Introduction
  2. Step One - Formulating a question
  3. Step Two - Conduct a search
  4. Step Three - Assess the quality
  5. Step Four - Summarise the evidence
  6. Step Five - Interpret the findings
  7. Activity
  8. Feedback
  9. Resources

Step One

You need to formulate a clear, focused question. In particular, you need to think about the population (the types of people), the type of intervention of exposures and the types of outcomes that are of interest.


From the review 'Interventions for basal cell carcinoma of the skin'.

Let's think about the population. Adults of either gender who have one or more histologically proven, primary basal cell carcinoma (basal cell carcinmoas are a type of skin cancer). It is important to include 'histologically proven' here otherwise we may not know for sure if the lesions are basal cell carcinomas or something that simply resembles basal cell carcinomas.

The intervention would be any treatment for basal cell carcinoma vs 'the gold standard' or other types of treatment. You should think very carefully about the outcomes. There should be one primary outcome which should reflect clinical practice and then a a number of secondary outcomes. In general, reviews should include all reported outcomes that are likely to be meaningful to people making a decision about the healthcare problem the review addresses.