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Bachelor of Science in Nursing

This guide will help you find journal articles, databases, eBooks and internet resources that will help you with research and writing.

What is PICO?

PICO is a mnemonic used to help you clarify your clinical question.  It acts as a framework, asking you to think specifically about different aspects of what you want to investigate.  As you build your PICO, you should make sure that you are clear and specific about what you are looking for. This helps you target the right evidence to use in practice.  

In some questions, a T is added to the PICO framework as well to help find a specific level of evidence.


P = Population/Patient/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?


Be sure to make your question specific.  What type of patient are you looking for?  Are you using a specific test as your intervention, or a broad group?  If you are looking for better outcomes, what are examples of those outcomes?


The PICO Framework

PICO Template Questions