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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.

"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 yoga in managing fatigue in general.  You are curious if yoga could be effective in cancer patients' fatigue.  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 yoga improves cancer patients' fatigue in 6 months.

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

In (P) cancer patients with fatigue
what is the effect of (I) yoga
compared with (C) usual care
on (O) quality of life
within (T) 6 months 

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

"In cancer patients with fatigue (P), what is the effect of yoga (I), compared with usual care (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.