Common types of systematic reviews in the health sciences

Review type Methodological guidance Topic assessed Elements of research question (mnemonic)
Intervention (Higgins, Thomas, & Chandler, 2022; Tufanaru et al., 2020) Benefits and harms of interventions used in healthcare Population, intervention, comparator, outcome (PICO)
Diagnostic test accuracy (Leeflang et al., 2022) How well a diagnostic test performs in diagnosing and detecting a particular disease Population, index test(s), and target condition (PIT)
Qualitative (Cochrane approach) (Noyes et al., 2022) Questions are designed to improve understanding of intervention complexity, contextual variations, implementation, and stakeholder preferences and experiences.

Setting, perspective, intervention or phenomenon of interest, comparison, evaluation (SPICE)

Sample, phenomenon of interest, design, evaluation, research type (SPIDER)

Perspective, setting, phenomena of interest/problem, environment, comparison (optional), time/timing, findings (PerSPecTIF)

Qualitative (JBI approach) (Lockwood et al., 2020) Questions inform meaningfulness and appropriateness of care and the impact of illness through documentation of stakeholder experiences, preferences, and priorities. Population, the phenomena of interest, and the context (PICo)
Prognostic (Debray et al., 2017) Probable course or future outcome(s) of people with a health problem Population, intervention (model), comparator, outcomes, timing, setting (PICOTS)
Etiology and risk (Moola et al., 2020) The relationship (association) between certain factors (eg, genetic, environmental) and the development of a disease or condition or other health outcome Population or groups at risk, exposure(s), associated outcome(s) (disease, symptom, or health condition
of interest), the context/location or the time period and the length of time when relevant (PEO)
Measurement properties (Mokkink et al., 2010; Prinsen et al., 2018) What is the most suitable instrument to measure a construct of interest in a specific study population? Population, instrument, construct, outcomes (PICO)
Prevalence and incidence (Munn et al., 2020) The frequency, distribution and determinants of specific factors, health states or conditions in a defined population (eg, how common is a particular disease or condition in a specific group of individuals?) Factor, disease, symptom or health condition of interest, the epidemiological indicator used to measure its frequency (prevalence, incidence), the population or groups at risk as well as the context/location and time period where relevant (CoCoPop)

Credit to Kolaski, K., Logan, L. R., & Ioannidis, J. P. A. (2023). Guidance to best tools and practices for systematic reviews. Systematic Reviews, 12(1), 96.