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General resources for PCC nursing students.

Evidence Based Research Tutorials

For more in-depth information about formulating searches for evidence based resources, consult the following tutorials. Keep in mind that the tutorials listed here were created by other libraries, and they reference resources that may or may not be available through PCC Library.

PICO Method

The PICO model helps you to develop a specific, answerable research question about a clinical health topic. The health/medical literature can then be searched for evidence to answer the PICO question.  

PICO stands for . . .

  • P = Patient, or Population, or Problem

    • Describes a group of patients who have factors in common such as age group, gender, ethnicity, having a disease or condition.
    • What is the problem you are looking at?
    • Is there a specific population you need to focus on?
    • Example: overweight adult with hypertension
  • I = Intervention or Issue of Interest

    • Describes the intervention you are considering, such as a treatment or diagnostic test.  
    • Example: diet and exercise changes
  • C = Comparison

    • Comparison if you are comparing multiple interventions.
    • Example: no change in diet or exercise
  • O = Outcome

    • Describes the desired effect or outcome for the patient.
    • Example: reduction in blood pressure

Research Questions Using PICO

Below are a couple of examples of research questions with the PICO components identified.

Example 1:

In adults ages 65 and older, how does the use of an influenza vaccine affect the likelihood of developing pneumonia?

  • P = adults ages 65 and older
  • I = influenza vaccine
  • C = there is not one; a comparison is not always needed
  • O = pneumonia

Example 2:

In sex workers, how do community empowerment interventions affect HIV transmission rates?

  • P = sex workers
  • I = community empowerment interventions
  • C = there is not one; a comparison is not always needed
  • O = HIV transmission rates