At this point in the process, you’ve thought deeply about your topic, quickly scanned the existing literature and built your team. Now you’re going to use all of this prep work to build what’s called an analytic framework.
At first glance, an analytic framework might look a little intimidating. But basically, it’s just a drawing of the decisions you’ve made about the direction of your research, how your research elements relate to each other, and what questions are most important to you.
Once you’ve made this schematic, you can use it as a communication tool to quickly tell other people about the decisions and priorities you made when you designed your research.
Let’s start with the basics. If you had just one research question and you found plenty of studies that answered that question directly, your analytic framework would look pretty boring:
This analytic framework says you’re looking at how a specific population responds to an intervention. The arrow indicates that your systematic review will examine the relationship between the intervention and the final outcome you care about.
In this case, you probably wouldn’t even bother drawing an analytic framework. It’s pretty obvious what you’re going to do.