PICOT Questions Examples

What is a PICOT Question? PICOT Questions Examples

The PICOT question format is a consistent “formula” for developing answerable, researchable questions. When you write a good one, it makes the rest of the process of finding and evaluating evidence much more straightforward.

  • P: Population/patient – age, gender, ethnicity, individuals with a certain disorder
  • I: Intervention/indicator (Variable of Interest) – exposure to a disease, risk behavior, prognostic factor
  • C: Comparison/control – could be a placebo or “business as usual” as in no disease, absence of risk factor, Prognostic factor B
  • O: Outcome – risk of disease, accuracy of a diagnosis, rate of occurrence of adverse outcome
  • T: Time – the time it takes for the intervention to achieve an outcome or how long participants are observed

1. PICOT Question:

Population: Bariatric adolescents considering or undergoing gastric bypass surgery.

Intervention: The nurse’s role as a primary member of the multidisciplinary team regarding perioperative care of the bariatric adolescent patient.

Comparison: The nurse’s role as a secondary member of the multidisciplinary team without any specialized training and is only involved in perioperative care of the bariatric adolescent patient.

Outcome: When the nurse is involved as one of the primary members in the multidisciplinary team approach, the bariatric adolescent patient has better continuity of care.

Time: perioperative including the 6 weeks post recovery.

PICOT Question: Does the bariatric adolescent patient undergoing gastric bypass have better continuity of care perioperatively and postoperatively when the nurse is a primary member of the multidisciplinary team versus when the nurse is a secondary member whose only role is in providing perioperative care and has no specialized training?

2. Intervention PICOT Question, an Intervention example: PICOT Questions Examples

In adult patients with total hip replacements (Patient population) how effective is PCA pain medication (Intervention of interest) compared to prn IM pain medication (Comparison intervention) in controlling post operative pain (Outcome) during the perioperative and recovery time? Note: The IM pain medication would be called the control group. It would be unethical to have a control group that received NO pain medication. Many times the control group means they get “business as usual!” or the current standard of care.

3. Therapy PICOT Question, a non-intervention example: ( PICOT Questions Examples

What is the duration of recovery (O) for patients with total hip replacement (P) who developed a post-operative infection (I) as opposed to those who did not (C) within the first six weeks of recovery (T)?

4.  Etiology PICOT Question:

Are kids (P) who have obese adoptive parents (I) at Increased risk for obesity (O) compared with kids (P) without obese adoptive parents (C) during the ages of five and 18 (T)?

5. Diagnostic PICOT Question:

Is a PKU test (I) done on two-week-old infants (P) more accurate in diagnosis inborn errors in metabolism (O) compared with PKU tests done at 24 hours of age (C)? Time is implied in two weeks and 24 hours old.

6. Prevention PICOT Question:

In OR nurses doing a five-minute scrub (P) what are the differences in the presence and types of microbes (O) found on natural polished nails and nail beds (I) and artificial nails (C) at the time of surgery (T)?

7. Prognosis/Prediction PICOT question:

Does telemonitoring blood pressure (I) in urban African Americans with hypertension (P) improve blood pressure control (O) within the six months of initiation of the medication (T)?

8. Meaning PICOT Question:

How do pregnant women (P) newly diagnosed with diabetes (I) perceive reporting their blood sugar levels (O) to their healthcare providers during their pregnancy and six weeks postpartum (T)?

PICOT Questions Examples

PICOT Questions EXAMPLES

Successfully developing a PICOT question is a pivotal part of evidence-based practice.

Below is an example from our class discussion:

 Population: Sexually active sexual minority (SM) youth who have never tested for HIV.

 Intervention: The nurse’s role to counsel youth with SM-tailored HIV testing information.

 Comparison: The nurse’s role as a secondary member of the healthcare team without any specialized training on SM-tailored HIV testing information.

 Outcome: The counsel of the nurse will lead to HIV testing by SM youth.

 Time: HIV testing occurs with 6 weeks of HIV testing counseling

PICOT Question: Will sexual minority youth who have never tested for HIV infection engage in HIV testing within six weeks when counseled by a nurse trained with SM-tailored HIV testing information versus when the nurse is not trained in SM-tailored HIV testing information?

Template for Asking PICOT Questions PICOT Questions Examples

/picot PICOT Questions Examples
INTERVENTION
In ________(P), how does ________ (I) compared to
________(C) affect _________(O) within (T)?
THERAPY
In _______
(P), what is the effect of ______(I) compared to
_ (C) on ____(O within _(T)?
PROGNOSIS/PREDICTION
In __ (P), how does _______ (I) compared to _(C)
influence ______ (O) over ___ (T)?
DIAGNOSIS OR DIAGNOSTIC TEST
In _______(P) are/is ________(I) compared with
___________(C) more accurate in diagnosing _____(O)?
ETIOLOGY
Are____________________ (P), who have ________ (I) compared with those
without ________(C) at _ risk for/of
_________
(O) over ____(T)?
MEANING
How do ___________ (P) with ___________ (I) perceive
___________ (O) during ____(T)?



Short Definitions of Different Types of Questions
Intervention/Therapy: Questions addressing the treatment of an illness or disability.
Etiology: Questions addressing the causes or origins of disease (i.e., factors that produce or
predispose toward a certain disease or disorder).
Diagnosis: Questions addressing the act or process of identifying or determining the nature and
cause of a disease or injury through evaluation.
Prognosis/Prediction: Questions addressing the prediction of the course of a disease.
Meaning: Questions addressing how one experiences a phenomenon.
Sample Questions:
Intervention: In African-American female adolescents with hepatitis B (P), how does
acetaminophen (I) compared to ibuprofen (C) affect liver function (O)?
Therapy: In children with spastic cerebral palsy (P), what is the effect of splinting and casting(I)
compared to constraint-induced therapy (C) on two-handed skill development (O)?
Prognosis/Prediction:PICOT Questions Examples
1) For patients 65 years and older (P), how does the use of an influenza vaccine (I) compared to
not receiving the vaccine (C) influence the risk of developing pneumonia (O) during flu season
(T)?
2) In patients who have experienced an acute myocardial infarction (P), how does being a
smoker (I) compared to a non-smoker (C) influence death and infarction rates (O) during the
first 5 years after the myocardial infarction (T)?
Diagnosis: In middle-aged males with suspected myocardial infarction (P), are serial 12-lead
ECGs (I) compared to one initial 12-lead ECG (C) more accurate in diagnosing an acute
myocardial infarction (O)?
Etiology: Are 30- to 50-year-old women (P) who have high blood pressure (I) compared with
those without high blood pressure (C) at increased risk for an acute myocardial infarction (O)
during the first year after hysterectomy (T)?
Meaning: How do young males (P) with a diagnosis of below the waist paralysis (I) perceive
their interactions with their romantic significant others (O) during the first year after their
diagnosis (T)?

The PICOT question format is a consistent "formula" for developing answerable, researchable questions. When you write a good one, it makes the rest of the process of finding and evaluating evidence much more straightforward.
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