Specifying the inclusion and exclusion criteria for systematic literature review

Starting your inclusion and exclusion criteria before you conduct the review is important. This section is  Where you describe the criteria that you will be using to include any research studies in your review. Torgerson (2003) suggests that a high quality systematic review should have inclusion and exclusion Criteria that are ‘rigorously and transparently reported a priori (before you start the review) ‘(Torgerson 2003:26). You may well ask ‘ Why is it necessary’? The reason is so that your search can target the Papers that will answer your questions and exclude any irrelevant ones. The criteria need to be explicit And applied stringently. The criteria you will need to describe the types of research studies you will be Including , the participants, the interventions, comparative groups and outcome measures. PICO now Becomes PICOT. For qualitative systematic reviews use PEO( which will now become PEOT).

Please note that whether you are writing a qualitative or quantitative review, all of these steps are same With the expectation that for qualitative reviews for qualitative reviews the data extraction and Presentation of results are conducted a little differently from quantitative reviews.Further details on these Differences can be found in Chapters 7&8. How to specify the inclusion and exclusion criteria for each Components (PICOT or PEOT) of your review question will now be discussed.

Specifying the types of studies to be included and excluded

When selecting your primary research papers, it is important to select papers with the appropriate design For your particular review question.If you are effectiveness of an intervention, the highest quality research Design for your particular review question. If you are evaluating the effectiveness of an intervention , the Highest quality research designs will be randomized controlled trials or clinical controlled trials (CCTs). (Please refer to the research design section in Chapter 2 to go over the research designs if you are still Uncertain about this).You could also use another research designs that do not include a control Intervention, but these will be lower on the hierarchical scale of quality of evidence.

In the Cochrane systematic review that I conducted with international team of colleagues,we included Both RCTs and CCTs; we also included prospective cohort studies because we knew there were not Many RCTs(Negrini et al.2010).

In the case studies, Cheryl and Mary will be seeking similar papers as they have excluded case studies Because case studies are very low down on the quality of evidence scale . If there was very little Information available , however it may be worth considering the inclusion of the case studies designs.

In contrast, Sue will be evaluating people’s lived experiences of witnessed resuscitation and will be Conducting a qualitative review. If you plan to conduct a qualitative review , you will be searching for Primary qualitative papers . The specific type of qualitative paper will depend on your specific qualitative review question.These can be presented in tables or in Narrative format as you prefer.


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