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Nursing -- Graduate Studies Research Guide

PICO

Nursing relies on Evidence Based Practice (EBP) to inform practitioners on the best course of action. PICO helps to clarify and define the research need, as well as to focus on the comprehensive care of the population. PICO is a mnemonic used to describe the four elements of a good clinical foreground question:

P = Population/Problem - How would I describe the problem or a group of patients similar to mine?

I = Intervention - What main intervention, prognostic factor or exposure am I considering?

C = Comparison - Is there an alternative to compare with the intervention?

O = Outcome - What do I hope to accomplish, measure, improve or affect?

Keep in mind that PICO is not designed to address extremely broad or narrow parameters and factors...think about the population in question.

Get help with your PICO

Other guides and tools:

When should you use PICO?

  • In academia when you are looking for evidence to support best practice
  • In practice when you have a question about patient care

Why should you use PICO?

  • Helps you form a focused question that will return relevant results
  • Helps you retrieve a manageable amount of results
  • Assists you in brainstorming keywords for your research
  • Saves time!