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Dental Hygiene

A guide to books, journal articles and other resources for the dental hygiene program based at the Red Mountain campus.


PICO is an acronym used by medical practicitoners, students and researchers to help focus a medical question/issue and develop an effective search strategy.

PICO Worksheet

Use this worksheet to formulate your research strategy.



P   Patient, Population or Problem 
         Who is the patient or population? (e.g. male, female, infant, adult)
          What is the condition or disease you are interested in? (e.g. pregnancy, cancer)

I    Intervention or exposure
          What do you want to do with this patient? (e.g. surgery, administer drugs)

C   Comparison
         What is the alternative to the intervention? (e.g. do nothing, different drug)

O  Outcome
          What are the relevant outcomes? (e.g. infection, death) 

PICO search query

Search Tips:

  • Don't enter a question or sentence into the search box. 
  • Search by keywords or phrases
  • Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to help narrow or expand your search.
  • Use Boolean operators to connect your PICO terms

Here are some examples:

AND - use to connect two separate concepts to narrow the search (AND finds articles that contain BOTH terms)

  • periodontal disease AND pregnancy

OR - use to search for similar terms to expand the search (OR finds articles that contain EITHER term)

  • wisdom teeth OR third molars

NOT - use to exclude terms to narrow the search (NOT find articles that contain one term but NOT the other)

  • heart NOT lung