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Last Updated: Jun 19, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
PICOT Print Page

What is PICOT?

PICOT is a structured method for building a search strategy to use in evidence-based research.

P = Patient or Population/Problem (Who is it? Describe the main characteristics of the patient and his problem.)
Examples - age, gender, disease or condition)

I = Intervention (Describe the main treatment or action.)
Examples - drug therapy, surgery, diagnostic/screening test

C = Comparison (Describe the main alternative.)
Examples - drug therapy, surgery, placebo, no treatment

O = Outcome (Describe what you are trying to accomplish, improve, measure, etc.)
Examples - improved condition, reduced morbidity or mortality, accurate diagnosis

T = Time  (Describe time frame of intervention to achieve outcome. This element is not always included.)
Examples - 24 hours after surgery, 3 months, etc.


PICOT Example

Start with a question or clinical problem:

Is St. John's wort (hypericum) as effective as antidepressants for treatment of adults with depression?

Define your question or problem using PICO:

P = adults with depression

I = St. John's wort

C = antidepressants

O = relief of symptoms

T = six months

PICOT Worksheets & Templates

Reference Librarian

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Roger Swartzbaugh
Contact Info
St. John's Hospital
Health Sciences Library
800 E. Carpenter St.
Springfield, IL 62769
Text: 217-280-4582
Phone: 217-544-6464 ext 44566
Fax: 217-525-2895
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