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PICO Research Questions: Getting Started

This guide provides tips for creating PICO research questions and searching the databases.

PICO Research Questions

What is a PICO Question?

PICO questions or statements take into account the outcome of a current intervention for a disease or problem and compares it to the outcome of a proposed intervention. PICO questions help health-care providers decide which intervention is the most beneficial to the patient. PICO questions or statements need to contain these elements:

  • P - the patient population
  • - the proposed intervention
  • C - a comparison statement to the existing intervention
  • O - the desired outcome of the intervention

Example: In non-ambulatory patients, (P) does turning the patient (I) compared to pressure mattresses (C ) reduce the risk of pressure ulcers? (O)

You can also add in the element of Time (T) to your PICO question.