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University of Wollongong Australia

Systematic Review

How the Library can help when you're conducting a systematic review

Tools for your systematic review

Here are some examples of tools you can use to develop and report on your systematic review:


PROSPERO is an international register for prospective systematic literature reviews.

It includes protocol details for systematic reviews relevant to:

  • health and public health
  • social care and welfare
  • education
  • crime and justice
  • international development

Protocols can include any type of any study design where there is a health-related outcome.


PRISMA is an evidence-based minimum set of items for reporting in systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

PICO framework

Use a framework like PICO when developing a good clinical research question:

Patient or problem Intervention Comparison Intervention Outcome
Describe the patient or group of patients of interest as accurately as possible What is the main intervention or therapy you'll consider? Is there an alternative treatment to compare?  What is the clinical outcome?


The SPIDER question format was adapted from the PICO tool to search for qualitative and mixed-methods research.  Questions based on this format identify the following concepts:

  1. Sample
  2. Phenomenon of Interest
  3. Design
  4. Evaluation
  5. Research type

Example: What are young parents’ experiences of attending antenatal education? 

young parents
P of I   antenatal education
D questionnaire, survey, interview, focus group, case study, or observational study
E experiences
R qualitative or mixed method






Search for (S AND P of I AND (D OR E) AND R) (Cooke, Smith, & Booth, 2012).

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