Using PICO (T) as a guide to find medical literature in databases in Nursing and Allied Health Professions
What is PICO (T)?
PICO (T) is an instrument used in medical and health research to help researchers formulate a question to get evidence based results.
Using PICO (T) format as a tool where applicable can help to base question to begin the literature search.
|P = Patient, Population, and/or Problem
I = Intervention
C = Comparison
O = Outcome
T = Type of Study or concept of time
- Plan a search strategy by identifying major elements of the question to subject terms such as MeSH, Keywords
- After viewing the initial search results, one can narrow the search for the Comparison, Outcome, Time factors or Type of study
Example: Does sleep hygiene among healthcare workers increase productivity at work?
Frame the question to include PICO (T) elements
|P (Problem or Patient or Population)||Sleep deprivation, healthcare workers|
|I (intervention)||Sleep, rest|
|C (comparison)||Long shift, Not sleeping, stress|
|Key terms in the question||Database Terms – MeSH*/ Keywords|
|P (Problem/Patient/Population) = Sleep deprivation, healthcare workers||Sleep deprivation, insufficient sleep, Health personnel [MeSH]
sleep deprivation [CINAHL]
| I (intervention/indicator)= Sleeping 8 hours,
|Sleep hygiene [MeSH]
Sleep hygiene [CINAHL]
|C (comparison)||Standards, Education [ MeSH, CINAHL]|
|O (outcome)||Efficiency [ MeSH, CINAHL]|
*Medical Subject Heading in PubMed/Medline
Useful Links for PICO/Evidence Based searches:
Post submitted by Mangala Krishnamurthy