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Evidence-Based Practice: Asking a Clinical Question (PICO)

What is PICO(T)

PICO(T) is a mnemonic that stands for:






PICO Resources

PICO for MSK Nursing Projects

Are you working on a evidence based project or CN-III project? Use the PICO(T) format to frame your question.

  • Population/ Patient Problem: Who is your patient? (Disease or Health status, age, race, sex) / What is the problem?
  • Intervention: What do you plan to do for the patient? (Specific tests, therapies, medications)
  • Comparison: What is the alternative to your plan? (ie. No treatment, different type of treatment, etc.)
  • Outcome: What outcome do you seek? (Less symptoms, no symptoms, full health, etc.)
  • Time:  What is the time frame? (This element is not always included.)

Your PICO(T) question will fall under one of these types:

  • Therapy/Prevention
  • Diagnosis
  • Etiology
  • Prognosis


Need Help?? Get assistance with the literature search for your PICO(T) question by using the library's PICO(T) Search Form!

Using PICO

This easy-to-follow tutorial from the Librarians at the Bodleian Library at Oxford University, in partnership with the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine (CEBM), walks you through an example of turning a clinical research question into PICO format and using that to create search terms.

For Help, Contact

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Lindsay Boyce

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Lindsay's iPhone: (646) 643-4981