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Social Work Research Support

This guide is designed to assist in your research process. The guide contains research resources related to Research Design, Literature Review, Research Methods, Data Analysis and Ethics.

Evidence-Based Practice: Systematic Review

Use PICO as tool to analyze the parts of your question

People/ Patient/ Problem Intervention/ Exposure Comparison Outcomes
What are the important characteristics of the patients &/or problem? What you plan to do for the patient or problem? What, if anything, is the alternative to the intervention? What is the outcome that you would like to measure?
People who exercise warm up before exercise no warm up injury prevention

PICO is a good framework to help clarify your systematic review question.

Beyond PICO: the SPIDER tool for qualitative evidence synthesis.

How do you do a Systematic Review

1. Gather together your team.

2. Develop your protocol.

3. Data collection, locate, screen and collect studies

4. Abstract data and appraise risk of bias in the individual studies.

5. Synthesize findings, interpret and assess overall body of evidence.

6. Write report

7. Update

Finding evidence



Cochrane Library

MEDLINE (Pubmed)


Web resources

Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine

The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine develops, promotes and disseminates better evidence for healthcare.



Metasearch EBP engine



Trip is a clinical search engine designed to allow users to quickly and easily find and use high-quality research evidence to support their practice and/or care.

Trip has been online since 1997 and in that time has developed into the internet’s premier source of evidence-based content. Our motto is ‘Find evidence fast’ and this is something we aim to deliver for every single search.

Systematic Reviews Summaries the Evidence

Evidence-Based health care

Evidence-Based medicine

Evidence-Based public health

Evidence-Based policy

Level of Evidence

  1. Systematic Reviews
  2. Randomized Controlled Trials
  3. Cohort Studies
  4. Case Control Studies
  5. Case, Series, Case Reports
  6. Editorial, Export Opinion

Source: “EBM Pyramid.” Digital Image. Eli M. Oboler Library, 27 May 2016.

Systematic Review Aricle (Find tools in the article e.g. critical appraisal tool)

How to frame your question

1. Frame your research question (PICO/ PECO)

2. Develop search strategy.

3. Develop protocol

4. Run search strategy in at least two databases.

5. Retrieve and de-duplicate citations

6. Develop system for screening titles/ abstracts and full text.

7. Screen titles or/ abstracts

8. Retrieve and screen full text.


Online Books Freely available

1. Finding what works in Health Care: standards for systematic reviews by Institute of Medicine

2. Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions by Julian Higgins and Sally Green


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