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Lansing Community College Library

Nursing: PICOT

A guide to research for nursing students.

What is PICOT?

To formulate questions in Evidence Based Practice, use the PICOT format.

PICOT stands for:

  • Population/ Patient Problem: Who is your patient? (Disease or Health status, age, race, sex)
  • Intervention: What do you plan to do for the patient? (Specific tests, therapies, medications)
  • Comparison: What is the alternative to your plan? (ie. No treatment, different type of treatment, etc.)
  • Outcome: What outcome do you seek? (Less symptoms, no symptoms, full health, etc.)
  • Time:  What is the time frame? (This element is not always included.)

Your PICOT question will fall under one of these types:

  • Therapy/Prevention
  • Diagnosis
  • Etiology
  • Prognosis

The documents in the box on the left to find which level of research is appropriate for your type of PICOT question.

Databases for PICOT Research

These two databases are a good place to begin research on PICOT questions.