Considering scope in the planning and completion of systematic reviews

Session Type
Workshop - training
Editorial processes and supporting review authors
Target audience
Level of difficulty

Background: A burgeoning issue in evidence-based medicine is the scope and scale of how research questions are formulated. The scope of the review question and formulation of objectives have major implications on several stages of the systematic review process. This workshop will inform authors on how to consider scope when planning and conducting a systematic review.
Objectives: (1) To evaluate how the scope of a research question and objectives need to be accounted for in the inclusion criteria of a systematic review (2) To formulate analysis plans that target the objectives within a review, and how analyses can be tailored based on the scope of a review question (3) To consider how scope can impact the structure of a review in terms of writing up the results and summary versions of a manuscript
Description: This workshop will begin with a 5-minute introduction to the topic of scope and various examples of scope impacting review development. There will then be an activity where participants will work in groups to plan a review on a generic topic. Ideally, if there were 50 participants, there will be 10 groups of 5, with half the groups working on a review topic where the scope is too large, and the other half working on a review topic where the scope is appropriate. The activity will be divided into three 20-minute sections: 1. The first section will be on assessing an existing PICO inclusion criterion for the review question and objectives. Participants will be asked whether they think the inclusion criteria is appropriate and what they would change. 2. The second section will deal with analysis plans. Participants will be asked what comparisons they would consider for the review, types of analyses, and whether all outcomes included in the review need to be analysed across all comparisons. 3. The final section will require participants to evaluate the results section and summary versions of the review. The final 25 minutes will be devoted to feedback from the activity and lessons learned from existing reviews where scope has implicated review development.

Lasserson T1, Richardson R1
1Cochrane Central Executive Team, United Kingdom