The "C" in PICO represents the comparison intervention or control group
When using PICO in diagnostic studies, the comparator or control is the "gold standard" method by which a disease state is detected in the current clinical environment.
Comparison or control groups are also necessary when trying to understand the magnitude, variance, and direction of a treatment effect.
Baseline or preliminary measures of an outcome can also be considered the "C" in PICO when used in within-subjects designs.
How to choose control participants
2. Choose controls that have similar demographic, prognostic, and clinical characteristics to the treatment group.
3. Explicitly define the comparison group, intervention, exposure, test, or agent and how it is applied in the methodology.
4. It is feasible to collect 2:1, 3:1, and 4:1 ratios of controls to cases to improve upon precision and accuracy of research findings.
5. Clearly define the methodology undertaken to select controls and the type of intervention (if any) that they received in comparison to the experimental group.
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