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PICO Question

PICO is an acronym used to identify the key components of a clinical research question.Use PICO to break down your question into smaller parts and identify keywords in order to find relevant literature to help formulate an answer.

In recent years, T for time frame has been added. The examples below do not include T.






(where applicable)

Who are the patients you want to study? Think of age, sex, geography when trying to determine who it is you are interested in looking at. What is the intervention you are interested in? (medical, surgical, preventative?) Is there an alternative strategy to consider? What are the patient-relevant consequences of the intervention?
Example 1: Patients with chronic pain Acupuncture Medication

Pain management

Example 2: Seniors/elderly Aspirin No aspirin Reduce risk of heart attacks
Example 3: Children with autism spectrum disorder Cognitive behaviour therapy N/A Reduce anxiety

Question Example 1: In patients with chronic pain does acupuncture manage pain better than medication?

Question Example 2: In seniors does Aspirin reduce the risk of heart attacks?

Question Example 3: Does cognitive behaviour therapy reduce anxiety in children with autism spectrum disorder?

7 Steps to the Perfect Pico Question

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