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Occupational Therapy

PICO Question

What is a PICOT question?

  • The PICOT question format is a consistent "formula" for developing answerable and researchable questions. 
  • A clinical question with the PICOT format will help you focus your search and is essential in finding the best available evidence. 

When should you use PICOT? 

  • In academia, when you are looking for evidence to support best practice. 
  • In practice, when you have a question about patient care. 

Why should you use PICOT?

  • Helps you form a focused question that will return relevant results. 
  • Helps you retrieve a manageable amount of results. 
  • Assists you in brainstorming keywords for your research. 
  • Saves time!

PICO Question

The PICOT format is appropriate for questions related to the effectiveness of an intervention. The core PICOT elements are: 

  • Population/Disease: The group of people that are of concern in the question. 
    • Examples: age, gender, ethnicity, with a certain disorder
  • Intervention/Variable of Interest: Treatment or action that is the focus of the question. 
    • Examples: exposure to a disease, risk behavior, prognostic factor
  • Comparison (if applicable): Any other nursing interventions.
    • Examples: could be a placebo or "business as usual" as in no disease, absence of risk factor, prognostic factor
  • Outcomes: Specific effect(s) of the intervention or what matters to the nurse and patient. 
    • Examples: risk of disease, accuracy of a diagnosis, rate of occurrence of adverse outcome
  • Time: The time it takes to demonstrate an outcome.
    • ​Examples: the time it takes for the intervention to achieve an outcome, how long participants are observed.

Fill in the Blanks

In __________ (P), what is the effect of __________ (I) on __________ (O) compared with __________ (T)

Are __________ (P), what is the effect of __________ (I) on compared with __________ (C) within __________ (T)?

Are __________ (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)?