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VIC121 Evaluating Healthcare: Problems and Solutions


Narrowing Your Topic & Developing a Focused Research Question

Classic Strategy to Focus a Topic: PICO(T)

The PICO(T) approach can help specify each of the core concepts in your research topic. PICO(T) is an acronym for:

Patient problem/Population: What health issue do you want to investigate? What are the demographic characteristics of the patient population you want to study?
Example: Type II diabetes

Intervention: What intervention or treatment are you considering? Example: exercise, diet, rest, a technology, or a medication. You can be more specific here, for example, specifying the dosage of a drug.

Comparison or Control: What are you comparing the intervention or treatment to? The comparison can be another medication or perhaps no treatment at all.

Outcome: What is the desired outcome? Are you trying to eliminate or reduce adverse effects?

Type of study or Time: Occasionally, a fifth component is relevant to consider: the type of method/study. The T can also stand for time period, for example, the outcomes within the first year after commencing a treatment.

PICO(T) Template (for the clinical domain of Intervention)

In_________(P), how does _________(I) compared to _________(C) affect _______(O) within _______(T)?

Example:
In adults with type 2 diabetes (P), how does exercise (I) compared to diet (C) affect blood sugar levels (O) within the first year of implementation (T)?

Additional PICO templates can be found here.

created by: Colin Deinhardt | updated: 12 September 2019