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Nursing: Evidence-Based Practice: PICO & PICo Questions

This guide provided information on evidence-based practice in nursing.

EBP Process

1. Ask a clear clinical question

2. Acquire best available evidence

3. Appraise evidence for quality

4. Apply evidence to practice

5. Assess the outcomes

PICO & PICo Questions

A clinical question structured using the PICO or PICo formats will help you focus your search and be essential in finding the best available evidence.

PICO Question

The PICO format is appropriate for questions related to the effectiveness of an intervention.  The core PICO elements are:


  • The group of people that are of concern in the question


  • Treatment or action that is the focus of the question 

Comparison (if applicable)

  • Any other nursing intervention [an intervention, if any, to be compared against]


  • Specific effect(s) of the intervention or what matters to the nurse and patient


The PICo format is appropriate for questions related to the meaningfulness of health-related phenomena. The core PICo elements are:

  • Population
  • Phenomena of interest
  • Context

Library Liaison for Nursing Students & Faculty

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Marcia Keith
Student Union & Library Building: Rm 203-B
Subjects: Health, Nursing