PICOT Questions | How to Come Up with the Perfect PICOT Question

In the nursing and clinical field, it is highly likely that a student will encounter or be asked to develop PICOT questions. Therefore, a nursing student ought to master this concept. Nonetheless, most students have multiple difficulties with this aspect. Therefore, they tend to seek a homework writing service to help them with this task. Despite the numerous do my homework services online, the fact is that students can still not find reasonable homework solutions on how to develop and answer PICOT questions. It leaves most students asking themselves, ‘what is a Picot question, and why does it matter?’ 

Custom Assignment Help What does Picot Stand for in Nursing?

In addition to asking for the definition of picot question and the PICOT question format, most people also ask, ‘what is a Picot question in nursing?’ Well, a PICOT question refers to a specific formula that has been identified to help nursing students in answering comprehensive and researchable questions. Since most students do not take their time to analyze what a Picot question entails, they often find themselves having difficulties in answering the research questions. Therefore, if you want to nail your nursing research questions, you first have to come up with the perfect Picot questions.

Brilliant Picot questions will make the process of answering the issues much more straightforward. Additionally, they will make you attain the clinical evidence you need even more quickly. Having understood what a Picot question means, it leads us to the next aspect of this ‘formula’ which is what PICOT stands for. Well, PICOT is an abbreviation, and its meaning answers the question, ‘What does Picot stand for in evidence based practice?’ It stands for:

P: Population or the patient – It could be the gender, age, ethnicity, or persons with a particular condition or disorder

I: Intervention or the indicator (Variable of Interest) – It stands for the risk behavior, the exposure to an infection, or a prognostic factor

C: Comparison or the control – This refers to an individual that has zero traces of the disease in question or does not have the risk factor, or Prognostic factor B

O: Outcome – This refers to the results, which could be the risk of the infection or condition, the accuracy level of a diagnosis, or the rate of occurrence of an adverse outcome

T: Time – This is the overall time the participants have been observed or the period it has taken to attain the outcome

PICOT Questions

Types of PICOT Questions

There are five Picot question types. They include:

  1. Intervention or the issue of interest

These types of questions are formatted to help in determining what treatment has the best outcome. These types of questions can be phrased as follows:

In a group of men highly vulnerable for falls (P), how does hourly rounding (I) compared with rounding every 6 hours (C) affects the number of new falls (O)?

This is among the perfect PICOT question examples for falls.

  1. The Prognosis or the Prediction

These questions are used in determining the possible complications that arise from a particular condition or the clinical course over a specific time frame. An example of an intervention PICOT questions is as follows:

In a family of six where there is a history of cardiovascular disease (P), how the decision of participating in a nutrition program (I) in comparison to a choice of not participating in the program (C) impact the healthy food consumption trend (O) within eight months (T)?

  1. Diagnosis or Diagnostic Test

These questions are different from those of the intervention or the prognosis. They are developed to help in determining which test is more reliable and accurate in the diagnosis of a particular disease. For instance, in a group of adults that are believed to have type 2 diabetes (P), is the A1C (I) compared with the fasting plasma glucose (C) more accurate in diagnosing type 2 diabetes (O)?

  1. Etiology

These questions are used in determining the most significant causes or risk factors of a particular disease or condition. One example of a problem targeting the etiology aspect is as shown below: Are kids (P) with sedentary lifestyles (I) compared with those without such lifestyles (C) at a higher risk of being obese (O) over eight months (T)?

  1. Meaning

These questions are developed to help the researcher or investigator in gaining more insight into the importance of experience to either one person, a group, or a broader community. One example of such a question is as shown:

how do ladies (P) who have been tested positive for high blood pressure (I) view their ability to function (O) when in an environment that triggers them (T)?

Examples of Nursing PICOT Question Ideas

Suppose your instructor or professor asked you to develop PICO question examples emergency nursing field or in another scenario. Would you know how to go about it, or would you instead decide between buying essays online safe and quick? Here are some nursing Picot question ideas that can give you an idea on how to phrase the questions:nursing PICOT question

PICOT Question 1

Does the bariatric adolescent patient going through gastric bypass have a better chance of continuity of care perioperatively and postoperatively when the nurse is a primary member of the multidisciplinary team compared to if the nurse is a secondary member whose only task is to provide perioperative care and has no specialized training?

Population: The bariatric adolescents who are taking or planning on undergoing gastric bypass surgery.

Intervention: The role of the nurse as a primary member of the multidisciplinary team regarding perioperative care of the bariatric adolescent patient.

Comparison: The role of the nurse as a secondary member of the multidisciplinary team and has no specialized training and is only involved in the perioperative care of the bariatric adolescent patient.

Outcome: When the nurse is involved as one of the primary members in the multidisciplinary team approach, the bariatric adolescent patient has better continuity of care.

Time: perioperative, including the six weeks post-recovery.

PICOT Question 2

In admitted patients, does turning the patient contrasted with weight beddings diminish the danger of weight ulcers faster within four months?

Population: admitted patients

Intervention: turning the patient

Control: weight beddings

Outcome: diminish the danger of weight ulcers

Time: 4 months

PICOT Question 3

In ventilated patients, is the head-of-bed height of 45 degrees contrasted with 20 degrees more effective in decreasing the frequency of ventilated related pneumonia within eight months?

Population: ventilated patients

Intervention: the head-of-bed height of 45 degrees

Control: 20 degrees

Outcome: decrease in the frequency of ventilated related pneumonia

Time: 8 months

PICOT Question 4

In hospitalized children, is the Wong-Baker Pain FACES Rating Scale contrasted with the Child Medical Fear Scale more accurate in assessing the kid’s dimension of torment in 6 months?

Population: Hospitalized children

Intervention: the Wong-Baker Pain FACES Rating Scale

Control: The Child Medical Fear Scale

Outcome: the kid’s dimension of torment

Time: 6 months

PICOT Question 5

For patients 65 years and older, how does the use of an influenza vaccine compared to those who have not received the vaccine influence the risk of developing pneumonia during flu season?

Population: patients who are 65 years and older

Intervention: influenza vaccine

Control: non-vaccinated patients who are 65 years and older

Outcome: developing pneumonia

Time: flu season

PICOT Question 6

What is the recovery period for patients with the total hip replacement who developed a post-operative infection as opposed to those who did not get it within the first six weeks of recovery?

Population: patients with total hip replacement

Intervention: development of a post-operative infection

Control: patients without total hip replacement

Outcome: duration of recovery

Time: first six weeks of recovery

All these PICOT questions range in various topics. One of the issues that students often have a problem in developing PICOT questions is the prevention of ulcers. To help you create the perfect PICOT questions of preventing ulcers here is an example of a PICOT question preventing pressure ulcers:

What is the effect of enzymatic debridement of non-viable tissue compared with sharp debridement on the rate of healing of pressure ulcers in adults within one year?

Patient: Adults

Intervention:  enzymatic debridement of non-viable tissue

Control: sharp debridement

Outcome: rate of healing of pressure ulcers

Time: One year

Example of a PICO question on the same topic:

Would the implementation of an evidence-based checklist better prevent the progression of pressure ulcers in adult Med-Surg patients?

Patient: Adult Med-Surg patients

Intervention:  Pressure ulcer treatment checklist

Control: Traditional Management

Outcome: Decrease in the amount of pressure ulcer development or progression

What is an Example of a PICOT Question?

If you have been asked to develop a PICOT question in the nutrition field, then here are examples of how you should structure your statement:

How effective is the consumption of low glycemic index foods for reducing energy intake and promoting weight loss in adults in 13 months?


Patient: Adults

Intervention: consumption of low glycemic index foods

Control: There is no comparison

Outcome: reduction of the energy intake and promotion of weight loss

Time: 13 months

How effective is acupuncture in improving mobility in elderly male stroke patients in comparison to standard stroke therapy within two years?

Patient: elderly male stroke patients

Intervention: acupuncture

Control: standard stroke therapy

Outcome: improvement of mobility in elderly male stroke patients

Time: 2 years

How to Develop a PICOT Statement and Literature Search

Developing the PICOT statements is the same as coming up with a PICOT question. As stated earlier, it requires a student to form a query containing the patient, intervention, control, outcome, and time frame. After one has come up with the PICOT question, one can conduct a literature search to help answer the question. Now, the PICOT question nursing field requires a student to use only empirical and scientific sources that relate to the nursing field.

When searching for this literature, it is essential to first analyze the current sources in the theme that the question lies in. For instance, if your PICOT question is under the cardiovascular health theme, then it is imperative to search for the current sources on cardiovascular health. Besides looking at how old the sources are, it is also crucial to evaluate how reliable the material is. Some sources contain inaccurate information, which may decrease the credibility of your work. Therefore, use accurate sources only. The best sources to use with such questions can be books, journal articles, health websites, and also nursing articles.

What is a PICO Question? How do you Develop One?

A PICO question is the same as a PICOT question. However, the only difference is that it does not have the time element. Other than that, it does have the patient or population aspect, the intervention, control, and outcome. Usually, when students are asked to develop a PICO question, they tend to overlook some elements that make up a good Picot question. Consequently, they fail in the task and end up wondering, ‘what are good PICO questions?’ ‘how do you develop them?’


Well, pretty straightforward. Step one is to identify the vague question you want to answer. For instance, come up with the question, ‘Is cardiopulmonary resuscitation effective?’ The general question helps in giving you an overview of how to structure your PICOT question. After coming up with the general question, now evaluate the various aspects of a PICO question. They are as follows:

P – This is the patient or the population of interest. In our case, we have not specified the specific patient undergoing cardiopulmonary resuscitation. So, try and ask yourself the possible population that you can target in this question. For instance, you can decide to target children aged 5 to 10, a hospitalized group, or individuals in a specific health cohort, such as those who are asthmatic or diabetic.

I – This stands for the intervention. Our question does not have any intervention, so we have to include one. For instance, we can select a ‘hands-only’ intervention.

C – This is the control. When you want to include the control in your PICO question, you have to search for a comparison factor. Search for another approach that can be compared to the hands-only method. In our case, we can choose to use the hands plus breathing technique as our control.

O – This represents the outcome. Here, we need to ask ourselves what we mean by cardiopulmonary resuscitation being effective.  The result we can select to use in our case is mortality, given that it is easy to measure the mortality rate.

After doing all of these, we now have a complete PICO question. Our PICO question would look like this:

In community-dwelling adults, how effective is hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation compared to hands plus breathing cardiopulmonary resuscitation in reducing the mortality rate?

P – community-dwelling adults

I – hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation

C – hands plus breathing cardiopulmonary resuscitation

O – mortality

What are the Types of PICO Questions?

There are several types of PICO questions. They include:PICOT EXAMPLE

  1. The therapy or intervention questions that are used in determining the best intervention that can lead to the best outcome.
  2. Etiology questions that help in identifying the root causes or the risk factors of a condition.
  3. The diagnosis questions that help in identifying the most accurate and precise diagnosis methods for a specific condition.
  4. The outcome questions that help in determining the results of a specific intervention.

Here are some examples of PICO questions and a list of paediatric PICO questions:

PICO Question 1

In adult patients with Systemic lupus erythematosus, is consuming turmeric tea more effective than Plaquenil at reducing joint pain?

Patient: patients with Systemic lupus erythematosus

Intervention: turmeric tea

Control: Plaquenil (standard drug therapy)

Outcome: reduction of joint pain

PICO Question 2

Is d‐dimer assay more accurate at ruling out deep vein thrombosis compared to ultrasound?

Population: adults

Intervention: d-dimer assay

Control: ultrasound

Outcome: more accurate diagnosis of DVT

PICO Question 3

Among young children with an acute asthma exacerbation, is a single dose of intramuscular dexamethasone comparable to 5 days of oral prednisolone for resolution of asthma symptoms? 

Patient: young children with an acute asthma exacerbation

Intervention: a single dose of intramuscular dexamethasone

Control: 5 days of oral prednisolone

Outcome: the resolution of asthma symptoms

PICO question examples emergency nursing

PICO Question 4

Systemic steroids, such as prednisone, slow bone growth. Children with chronic asthma are often prescribed inhaled steroids or corticosteroids. Do these drugs have any impact on growth before adolescence?

Population: preadolescents with asthma

Intervention: inhaled corticosteroids

Control: treatment without corticosteroids

Outcome: growth at a predicted rate

PICO Question 5

In preadolescents with asthma, will inhaled corticosteroids suppress average growth (as compared to treatment without corticosteroids)?

Patient: preadolescents with asthma

Intervention: inhaled corticosteroids

Control: treatment without corticosteroids

Outcome: suppression of average growth

PICO Question 6

In middle-aged men with suspected myocardial infarction, are serial 12-lead ECGs compared with one initial 12-lead ECG more accurate in diagnosing an acute myocardial infarction?

Patient: middle-aged men with suspected myocardial infarction

Intervention: serial 12-lead ECGs

Control: one initial 12-lead ECG

Outcome: diagnosis of an acute myocardial infarction

How do you Answer a PICO Question?

As challenging as it is to develop a PICO question, it is even more daunting to answer it. Students fall into the trap of always providing general or vague answers. Therefore, in such a case, you will find them omitting various aspects that are crucial in their answers. Well, for you to answer a PICO question accurately, then here is what you should do:

Step 1

Read the problem to understand. Even before you start writing the answer to your question, ensure you begin by breaking down the issue to identify its various parts. Break down the issue and identify the patient or population of interest, the intervention, control, and outcome. In some cases, a control may be missing. So, if you are not careful, you might end up giving comparison answers, yet there is no control to compare to the intervention.

Step 2

Gather up the research materials that you need to acquire the clinical information from. Sometimes, students fail when answering these questions merely because they do not know what sources they need to use to develop or acquire empirical evidence. Therefore, they end up using inaccurate sources that provide unreliable information.

Step 3

Take time to conduct the research. A mistake that most students make, especially when answering the PICO questions, is rushing through them. This is mostly the case when a student does their assignment last minute. Such a rush can make you misinterpret the matter, ultimately making you provide irrelevant, vague, and general answers. It is always essential that a student creates a schedule on when they are going to research and write their assignment.

Step 4

Ask for help if you do not know how to structure your answers. Some students might know how to analyze a question and understand what it requires from them. However, the challenge comes in when they are structuring their answer. They may end up starting with weak or general points that tend to confuse the reader. As such, they miss out on explaining the significant argument. PICO questions require students to give comprehensive and well-formatted answers. So, if you do not know how to go about this, consult with your instructor or colleague.

Step 5

Cite in the correct formatting style and also the right manner. One of the trickiest aspects of a student’s academic life is citing. Most students have fallen victim to wrong citations, plagiarism, and also mixing formats. We all know that any error in citing can not only make your work look duplicated but also lower the quality of your work. Therefore, when you are answering the questions, ensure you take your time and verify how to cite various materials. Similarly, differentiate between quoting and paraphrasing to avoid plagiarism traces in your work.

Custom Assignment Help

The bottom line is that it is very straightforward to develop either the PICO or the PICOT questions. This accurate and step by step guide will give you insight into how to develop and also answer them.

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