Additional letters (for PICOT, PICOS, PICOTS, PICOTTS)
This guide introduces the PICO question framework for evidence-based practice. It explores PICO’s history, purpose, and limitations. This guide also introduces other question frameworks and provides example questions from across many health professions.
PICO is an acronym used to remember the key components of a clinical question. Physicians first developed the PICO framework in evidence-based medicine as a way to address knowledge gaps during patient encounters. Questions could arise around a patient’s diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy, as well as around prevention strategies and patient education. Since then, PICO has become the most widely used question framework for evidence-based practice.
PICO is useful in academic and clinical settings. It can help you:
PICO has some limitations. The framework privileges interventions, experimental research, and dominant voices.
Other guides and tools: