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A good research question should be clear, concise, specific and arguable, and forms the basis of your research, for example “What are the fluid requirements specific to young athletes?”
A useful technique employed in the formulation of clinical questions is the PICO Model - using PICO, a clinical question is divided into 3 or 4 elements - Patient, Intervention, Comparison* and Outcome.
* when applicable
The more specific the question, the easier it is to refine your search.
Use the PICO model to define your question
Defining your inclusion and exclusion criteria in advance is as important as defining your question and are determined by your research question.
These criteria determine which ‘subjects’ (studies) will be included in or excluded from the review and provide a safeguard against subjective selection bias by the reviewers.
Inclusion/exclusion criteria usually include:
Outcome measure - (If you are looking for studies that report the results of a certain test, any study that doesn't report such results is then excluded from your review)
Population - e.g. age/gender/ethnicity/co-morbidities and related conditions, etc.