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.
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
St. John's Hospital
Health Sciences Library
800 E. Carpenter St.
Springfield, IL 62769
Phone: 217-544-6464 ext 44566