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NURS 3290: Nursing Research 2 - BSN Program: Formulating a PICOT Question

This guide is designed to assist you with finding articles for your evidence-based research assignment.

VIDEO TUTORIALS: PICO(T) Question & Search History Assignment

PLEASE NOTE: The numbered steps within these videos differ from the recently updated assignment in Blackboard. However, the search process and order of tasks to be completed remains the same. 

Search for your Patient/Population/Problem (24:43) This video provides additional details on keywords and subject headings that you may find useful for the entire assignment overall. To jump directly to that portion of the video, click here

Search for your Intervention/Issue/Variable of Interest (09:22)

Search for your Comparison, if necessary (10:43)

Search for your Outcome (08:52)

Combine Searches and Apply Limits (11:27)

Insert Image of Search History into Worksheet (05:55)

These tutorials demonstrate a search in the CINAHL database for completing the Part 2A CINAHL worksheet (in Blackboard, see Assignments).

The same steps apply for completing the Part2B Database 2 worksheet. Depending on which EBSCO database you select for Database 2, the search process for Subject Headings may differ slightly. For guidance on Subject Headings in different EBSCO databases, see the Keywords and Subject Headings tab and refer to the Performing Subject Heading Searches in EBSCOhost Databases box. 

"What is PICOT?"

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a systematic approach to patient care decision-making based on current, best available evidence. 

The first step in EBP involves re-phrasing a clinical problem/area/issue in the form of a focused, searchable, and answerable clinical question

The PICOT Grid is a framework to help you accomplish this step.  

Ideas for Your PICOT Question

Information on clinical problems/issues within your textbooks provide a wealth of material for generating and brainstorming ideas for PICOT Questions. 

In your Concepts for Nursing Practice text, check the Clinical Management sections within each chapter for potential ideas. 

Also, be sure to review Chapter 3.3 Formulating EBP Questions in your Evidence-Based Practice for Nurses text.

Copies of both books are on reserve in the Mulford Library. To use a copy in the library, please ask a staff member at the library front desk. 

Helpful web resources for PICOT question ideas can be accessed below: 

Formulating an EBP Question with the PICOT Grid

Let's consider the following clinical scenario: 

You are an oncology nurse and you notice a great amount of fatigue in many of the cancer patients that you see.  While at a recent nursing conference, you attended a session on the use of meditation in managing fatigue in general by improving quality of life. You are curious if meditation as a recommended nursing intervention could be effective in managing cancer patients' fatigue by improving their quality of life.  You take this idea back to your hospital's Nursing Research Council who then decided to implement this as an EBP project to see if meditation improves cancer patients' quality of life in 6 months.

The following PICOT Grid serves as a framework for rephrasing your scenario into a clinical question:

In (P) adult cancer patients experiencing fatigue
what is the effect of (I) meditation
compared with (C) no meditation
on (O) quality of life
within (T) 6 months 

You now have a focused, searchable, and well-built clinical question:

"In adult cancer patients experiencing fatigue (P), what is the effect of meditation (I), compared with no meditation (C), on quality of life (O) within 6 months (T)?" 

This PICOT question can then be used to develop comprehensive search terms in library databases to locate relevant research evidence to support your PICOT.