PICO is a format for developing a good clinical research question prior to starting one’s research. The PICO process starts with a case scenario from which a question is constructed that is relevant to the case and is phrased in such a way as to facilitate finding an answer. Once a well-structured question is formulated, researchers will be in a better position to search the literature for evidence that will support their original PICO question.
|Part of the Acronym||Explanation||Example|
|P or Population||Who are the relevant patients or the target audience for the problem being addressed?||Adults (people over the age of 18)|
|I or Intervention||What intervention is being considered?||Interactive social media, such as blogs and microblogs (e.g. Twitter), content communities (e.g. Youtube), virtual social networks (e.g. Facebook), and webpages and wiki|
|C or Comparator||What is the main comparator to the intervention that you want to assess?||Non-interactive social media programs|
|O or Outcome||What are the consequences of the interventions for the patient? Or what are the main outcomes of interest to the patient or decision maker?||Health behaviors, health, mental health, well-being, and whether people reported unwanted effects|
|Etiology/ Risk/ Benefit||PEO: Population, Exposure(s), Outcomes|
|Prevalence/ Incidence||PCS: Population, Condition, Setting or context|
|Diagnostic Test Accuracy||PIRD: Population, Index Test, Reference Test, Diagnosis of
|Psychometric||PTM: Population, Type of measurement instrument,
For further reading about determining the scope of the review and the questions it will address, click on this link Chapter 2 of the Cochrane Handbook.
For further reading that goes into detail about articulating the review and PICO, check out the Cochrane Handbook Chapter 3, Section 2.
The PICO is based off :
Petkovic, J., Duench, S., Trawin, J., Dewidar, O., Pardo Pardo, J., Simeon, R., DesMeules, M., Gagnon, D., Hatcher Roberts, J., Hossain, A., Pottie, K., Rader, T., Tugwell, P., Yoganathan, M., Presseau, J., & Welch, V. (2021). Behavioural interventions delivered through interactive social media for health behaviour change, health outcomes, and health equity in the adult population. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 5(5), CD012932. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD012932.pub2
The definition of PICO was taken from:
Jensen, K. (2018, January 9). Seven Steps to the Perfect PICO Search. Health Notes. https://www.ebsco.com/blogs/health-notes/seven-steps-perfect-pico-search