Framing your research question

Question frameworks are used to help you turn your research question into the searches you will need for databases and search engines


PFO is used to frame research questions on prognosis in medicine and health.

  • How is your population defined? (e.g. age, gender, ethnic group …)
  • Which of their problems, diseases, or conditions are you looking at?
Prognostic Factors
  • These are the variables that could affect the outcome, e.g. a patient's attitudes or expectations. Which of these are you investigating?
  • Which outcome are you interested in measuring the influence of your prognostic factor on?


Reference: Munn Z, Stern C, Aromataris E, Lockwood, C., & Jordan, Z. (2018). What kind of systematic review should I conduct? A proposed typology and guidance for systematic reviewers in the medical and health sciences. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 18, 5. doi: 10.1186/s12874-017-0468-4 opens in a new window