Constructing a focused clinical question provides the blueprint for a search strategy that finds relevant literature. A commonly used mnemonic is PICOt.
P= Patient, problem or population
C= Comparison intervention
t= Appropriate time frame for intervention
Resources for Constructing Clinical Questions
Find it Fast by Yale, Introduction: Approximately three minutes in length; introduces and explains the importance of PICO.
Find it Fast by Yale, The Clinical Question: Approximately 4 minutes in length; relates types of clinical questions and the best studies that answer them.
The Well-Built Clinical Question: A Key to Evidence-Based Decisions, by Richardson et al.(1995): the classic article that introduced the idea of using PICO to form clinical questions. Available in print on the third floor of Prior Hall.
Asking the Clinical Question: A Key Step to Evidence-Based Practice, by Stillwell et al. (2010): Part of a series on EBP in the American Journal of Nursing.