Forming Focused Questions with PICO: About PICO

What does PICO stand for?

PICO: Patient / Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome

Additional letters (for PICOT, PICOS, PICOTS, PICOTTS)

  • Timeframe
  • Type of study
  • Setting

Using the PICO Framework

PICO is a widely-used acronym to assist in remembering the key components of a clinical question. There are additional letters and frameworks to help you formulate a question fitting your research. Not all parts of PICO are required! PICO is a framework to help you narrow your topic, not a rule.

When should you use PICO?

  • 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 PICO?

  • 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 Templates

Get help with your PICO

Other guides and tools: