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SJHC e-Library: PICO (Asking the Question)

CREATING YOUR QUESTION

PICO is a useful tool for asking focused clinical questions. PICO clarifies the question and identifies search concepts to help answer your question.

PICO Format
Patient
 
Who are the patients?
What is the problem?
 
Intervention
 
What main intervention are you considering?
What do you want to do with this patient?
 
Comparison
 
What is the main alternative being considered, if any?

 
Outcome What are you trying to accomplish, measure, improve or affect?

WATCH THE PICO VIDEO!

Created by WK Kellogg Health Sciences Library, Dalhousie University

 

Alternatively, PICOTT can also be used. This expanded form of PICO adds the type of evidence (study design) that is most appropriate to answer the type of question being asked.

 

 

PICOTT Format
Patient Who are the patients?
What is the problem?
Intervention What main intervention are you considering?
What do you want to do with this patient?
Comparison What is the main alternative being considered, if any?
 
Outcome What are you trying to accomplish, measure, improve or affect?
 
Type of question Therapy/Diagnosis/Harm, etc.
 
Type of study Systematic Reviews/RCT, etc.

PICO WORKSHEETS

These worksheets can be downloaded and printed to assist in using the PICO format.

Well-built clinical question worksheet (PDF)
Duke University Medical Center & Library

Patient-oriented clinical question worksheet (Word document)
Dartmouth Biomedical Libraries


George Pennal Library, St. Joseph's Health Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.