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EXS290 Research Guide

This guide was created for students taking EXS290

What is PICO?

An essential part of evidence-based decision making involves asking a good question. A clinical or research question can generally be broken down into four components. 'PICO' is the acronym that identifies the four components of a good research question:

Population 

Intervention

Comparison

Outcome(s)

The PICO table on this page provides further explanation and examples for each of the four components.

The following links provide additional information and resources on PICO:

PICO Questions: A Tutorial - UW Libraries

PICO Questions - Ebling Library

Forming Focused Questions with PICO - UNC Health Sciences Library

PICO Explained

Population

Who or What?

  • Participants or prinicipal person or thing
  • Problem or predicament
  • Population with a health/medical condition 

Example Population: Overweight College Students

Intervention

How?

  • Intervention
  • Treatment
  • Therapy
  • Tests

Example Intervention: HIIT plus endurance training

Comparison

What is the main alternative to the intervention?

  • Another intervention
  • Standard of care or operation

Example Comparison (alternative intervention): Endurance training

Outcome(s)

What are you trying to accomplish, measure or improve?

  • Measurement of comparisons
  • Relevant outcomes

Example Outcome: Changes in percent body fat