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Graduate Nursing Research Guide


The "Clinical Question"


Nursing relies on Evidence Based Practice (EBP) to inform practitioners on the best course of action. PICO helps to clarify and define the research need, as well as to focus on the comprehensive care of the population.  

When researching topics remember to include PICO elements:

P= Population. Who requires treatment? Think about demographics such as age, gender, ethnicity, or medical condition.

I= Intervention. How should the population, or patient, be treated? This does not necessarily have to be an action. Intervention could be in the form of exposure or even the patient's perception. 

C= Comparison. This element is optional. Are studies or trials of alternative interventions available, with which to compare your population and intervention? 

O= Outcome. What is the desired result of intervention on the population? This statement must be specific in order to determine the result. 


  • Keep in mind that PICO is not designed to address extremely broad or narrow parameters and factors...think about the population in question.

Critical Appraisal Tools


The Cochrane Library


Database Resources within the Cochrane Library


Other Clinical Trial Resources


CINAHL Complete


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