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The 6S Pyramid

6S pyramid

6S Pyramid

These questions bring together multiple concepts related to a specific clinical situation or research topic.  They are typically divided into two categories:

Qualitative Questions aim to discover meaning or gain an understanding of a phenomena.  They ask about an individual's or population's experience of certain situations or circumstances. Use the PS model to form these questions.

Quantitative Questions aim to discover cause and effect relationships by comparing two or more individuals or groups based on differing outcomes associated with exposures or interventions. Use the PICO(T) model to form these questions.

See the McMaster Nursing Resources Guide for more details and examples.

Meta-Searches search for evidence across multiple resources.  These tools return information from all levels of the pyramid:

Systems integrate information from the lower levels of the hierarchy with individual patient records and, therefore, represent the ideal source of evidence for clinical decision-making.

Summaries are regularly updated clinical guidelines or textbooks that integrate evidence-based information about specific clinical problems.

Clinical Practice Guidelines

Evidence-Based Texts

Synopses of syntheses, summarize the information found in systematic reviews.  By drawing conclusions from evidence at lower levels of the pyramid, these synopses often provide sufficient information to support clinical action.

Commonly referred to as a systematic review, a synthesis is a comprehensive summary of all the evidence surrounding a specific research question.

Synopses of single studies are short summaries of individual high-quality studies.

Studies represent unique research conducted to answer specific clinical questions.