Formulate your research question

Your topic of interest needs to become a research question. 

Using search concept tools to formulate your research question

 A search concept tool helps identify important elements to research questions. PICO is commonly used to structure a question arising from a clinical scenario. There are search concepts tools for different types of research questions.

 

 

P =  Population/patients The patient, problem, or population.
Ask: How would I describe a group of patients similar to mine?
I = Intervention Therapy, prevention, test, exposure
Ask: Which main interventions am I considering?
C = Comparison Ask: What is the main alternative?
O =  Outcome Ask: What could this intervention accomplish, measure, improve or affect?
(S) = Study Design Ask: what study design is most appropriate to answer the question?

Example

In patients with an acute migraine, what is the effect of sumatriptan compared with naproxen on pain relief?

 

P            patients with an acute migraine

I             sumatriptan

C            naproxen

O            pain relief

 

 

There are additional frameworks to help structure other types of research questions. 

PEO

Phenomenon of Interest 

Exposure   

Outcome 

 

PICo

Phenomenon of Interest   

Context 

 

SPIDER

Sample  

Phenomenon of Interest   

Design 

Evaluation 

Research type