Box 2Guiding principles for topic refinement

Fidelity to the original nomination retains the essential intent of the nominator and does not necessarily strive to satisfy the specific purpose of a given nominator. This assures that topics and systematic reviews are based on real-world issues that are important to stakeholders and that the systematic review will have relevance to a ready audience.

Topics have relevance to those who would make decisions with the findings of the systematic review, as well as those who would be affected by those decisions.

Research feasibility pertains to the practicality of conducting a review using systematic review methods within available resources.

Responsiveness to stakeholder input assures that topics are tied to real-world concerns and decisional dilemmas, but does not require integration of all input.

Each investigator brings their experience, expertise, perspective and values, which could introduce bias. Aspects of the topic refinement process can reduce possible investigator bias.

Transparency in reporting includes a clear description of topic refinement decisions and the underlying rationale. This is important for public accountability and the integrity of the topic refinement process.

A topic scope is the degree of inclusiveness reflected in the PICOTS, Key Questions and analytic framework. Defining a suitable scope for a topic requires the investigator to consider numerous factors that affect the complexity and level of detail of the Key Questions.

From: Results

Cover of The Refinement of Topics for Systematic Reviews
The Refinement of Topics for Systematic Reviews: Lessons and Recommendations From the Effective Health Care Program [Internet].
Buckley DI, Ansari M, Butler M, et al.

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