The PICOT question format is a consistent "formula" for developing answerable, researchable questions.
Note: Not every question will have an intervention (as in a meaning question) or time (when it is implied in another part of the question) component.
Template for Asking PICOT Questions
For an intervention/therapy:
In _______(P), what is the effect of _______(I) on ______(O) compared with _______(C) within ________ (T)?
Are ____ (P) who have _______ (I) at ___ (Increased/decreased) risk for/of_______ (O) compared with ______ (P) with/without ______ (C) over _____ (T)?
Diagnosis or diagnostic test:
Are (is) _________ (I) more accurate in diagnosing ________ (P) compared with ______ (C) for _______ (O)?
For ________ (P) does the use of ______ (I) reduce the future risk of ________ (O) compared with _________ (C)?
Does __________ (I) influence ________ (O) in patients who have _______ (P) over ______ (T)?
How do ________ (P) diagnosed with _______ (I) perceive ______ (O) during _____ (T)?
Melnyk B., & Fineout-Overholt E. (2010). Evidence-based practice in nursing & healthcare. New York: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
The PICO(T) Question
A clinical question that is composed using the PICO or PICOT format will help you to focus your search and help you to develop your research skills which are essential in finding the best available evidence.
The most common PICO(T) elements are:
P - Population
I - Intervention
C - Comparison (if applicable)
O - Outcome
(T) - Time (if applicable)
In order be successful in using Evidence Based Practice (EBP) you will need to learn how to develop well-composed clinical questions. By formatting your research question in a PICO(T) format you can gather evidence relevant to your patient's problem. Well-composed PICO(T) questions generally contain up to four components each represented in the acronym "PICO(T)" P=Patient or Population and Problem; I=Intervention or Indicator; C=Comparison or Control (not part of all questions); O=Outcome; T=Time or Type.