Skip to main content

PT 6001: Critical Inquiry

Information for PT 6001 Critical Inquiry

"The formulation of a focused clinical question containing well-articulated PICO elements is widely believed to be the key to efficiently finding high-quality evidence and also the key to evidence-based decisions...Empirical studies have shown that the use of PICO frames improves the specificity and conceptual clarity of clinical problems, elicits more information during pre-search reference interviews, leads to more complex search strategies, and yields more precise search results." (Xiaoli Huang, et al)

How effectively you find your evidence in literature depends upon how well you ask the research question. Use the PICO mnemonic to build that question.


     P -- patient, population, participant
     I -- intervention, therapy
     C -- comparison  (not always required)
     O -- outcome

 4 Types of PICO Questions

     1. Diagnosis
     2. Prognosis
     3. Therapy
     4. Etiology



Diagnosis PICO:
In children with respiratory infection, is the respiratory rate as effective as chest x-ray in detecting pneumonia?

Prognosis PICO:
In premature infants (compared to full-term infants), what is the lifetime prevalence of hearing deficit?

Therapy PICO:
In patients with recurrent infection, do antibiotics, compared to no treatment, reduce recurrence rate?

Etiology PICO:
In post-menopausal women, does hormone replacement therapy increase the risk of breast cancer?