Population, Intervention, Comparator, and Outcome in a Research Question
PICO (population, intervention, comparator, and outcome) is the framework promoted in evidence-based medicine (EBM) for structuring research questions and conducting literature searches.*
PICO is much more practical and applicable in the clinical setting versus the FINER framework. The four components of the PICO mnemonic form a question that is answerable, measurable, and focused.
PICO can also be used as a literature search tool. If researchers enter search queries with the population, intervention, control, and outcome included, more specific (or healthier) search results will be yielded.
When researchers experience cognitive dissonance associated with a "knowledge gap," EBM principles specify that clinicians should write these questions down in the PICO format for later literature searches.
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