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Evidence-Based Practice (OPH): Formulate a Question


The first step in assessing clinical queries is to translate your scenario or query into a well constructed, focused and answerable question. The question needs to be focused on the specific patient need or problem and be framed in such a way as to lead you to the best available evidence.

Formulating Answerable Questions

PICO is a tool that will assist you to fully analyse your query and form a well constructed, focused and answerable question.
PICO is especially useful for therapeutic questions but can be adapted to any type of question.

PICO for clinical questions

PICo for qualitative questions

Alternative Frameworks for Formulating Questions

COPES  (social work) - Client-Oriented, Practical, Evidence Search
Client type and problem, what you might do, alternate course of action, what you want to accomplish

PECODR (clinical) - Patient, Exposure, Comparison, Outcome, Duration, Results
Useful for case control studies and cohort studies. Duration (length of the follow up period), results (Number Needed to Treat or similar)

PESICO (rehabilitation) - Patient, Environment, Stakeholders, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome

PIPOH (guidelines) - Population, Interventions, Professionals/Patients, Outcome, Health Care Setting


More Resources & Tools