Forming Focused Questions with PICO: Resources

References and Further Reading

Booth, A., Noyes, J., Flemming, K., Moore, G., Tunçalp, Ö., & Shakibazadeh, E. (2019). Formulating questions to explore complex interventions within qualitative evidence synthesis. BMJ global health, 4(Suppl 1), e001107. Available from

Chapter 2: Determining the scope of the review and the questions it will address. (2019). In J. Higgins, J. Thomas, J. Chandleer, M. Cumpston, T. Li, M. Page, & V. Welch (Eds.), Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions (6.0 ed.), The Cochrane Collaboration. Available from

Chapter 5: Defining the review question and developing criteria for including studies. (2009). In J. Higgins, & S. Green (Eds.), Cochrane handbook for systemic reviews of interventions (5.0.1 ed.,) The Cochrane Collaboration. Available from

Eriksen MB, Frandsen TF. The impact of patient, intervention, comparison, outcome (PICO) as a search strategy tool on literature search quality: a systematic review. J Med Libr Assoc. 2018;106(4):420‐431. Available from

Flemming, K. (1998) Asking answerable questions. Evidence-Based Nursing. 1(2), 36-37. Available from BMJ Evidence Based Nursing.

Formulating EBP questions. (2009). In N.A. Schmidt, & J.M. Brown (Eds.), Evidence-based practice for nurses: Appraisal and application of research (pp. 69-70) Sudbury, Mass. : Jones and Bartlett Publishers, c2009.

Making the most of existing knowledge. (2004). In P. Crookes, & S. Davies (Eds.), Research into practice: Essential skills for reading and applying research in nursing and health care (pp. 42-43) Edinburgh; New York : Bailliere Tindall, 2004.

McKibbon, K.A., & Marks, S. (2001). Posing clinical questions: Framing the question for scientific inquiry. AACN Clinical Issues: Advanced Practice in Acute & Critical Care, 12(4), 477-481.

Planning a literature search. (2006). In K. Gerrish, & A. Lacey (Eds.), The research process in nursing (pp. 95-96) Oxford; Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub., 2006.

Stone, P.W. (2002). Popping the (PICO) question in research and evidence-based practice. Applied Nursing Research, 15(3), 197-198.

Credits and Feedback

This tutorial was created by Lisa Philpotts, RN, BSN. Your comments and suggestions on this tutorial are welcome. Please give us your feedback at