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NURS 351: All Nursing Adults II Clinical: All about PICOT

What is PICO(T)?

PICO(T), a mnemonic derived from the elements of a clinical question, is a framework that helps one remember the key components of a well formulated question.  The question needs to identify the key problem of the patient, what treatment to consider, alternative treatment considered (if any), what is the outcome you want to avoid or promote, and sometimes the timeframe.

PICO(T) process begins with a searchable question based on a clinical situation encountered or the case scenario.  Based on your PICO(T) question, you will then come up  with keywords and/or subject terms to use in database searches.



PICOT explained

  • Patient or population/disease: Who or what is the patient, population or problem? (Consider age, gender, ethnicity, group with a certain disorder)
  • Intervention or variable of interest: What is the intervention (action or treatment) being considered? What variable are you studying? (Consider therapy, exposure to a disease, risk behavior, prognostic factor, preventative measure, or diagnostic test)
  • Comparison or control: Are you comparing two interventions or variables? (Consider absence of disease, absence of risk factor, use of placebo, prognostic factor B)
  • Outcome: What is the expected result or what do you hope to accomplish, improve or affect? (Consider disease incidence, accuracy of a diagnosis, rate of occurrence of adverse outcome, survival or mortality rates)
  • Time: What is the timeframe? (Consider the time when population will be observed, or outcome is measured.



PICOT Example Questions

Helpful Resources

PICOT video