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Posted: January 8th, 2023

How to write PICOT question paper

How to write PICOT question paper

With the call for clinicians to use evidence-based practices in health care. There is a need for more research to discover new inventions. When conducting research, researchers need to map out a research question that will act as a guide in the entire research. PICOT is a format used to set researchable and answerable questions in research. P stands for Population. I represent interest. C is for comparison. O for outcomes and T for time or type of study. When writing a PICOT question paper. It is important to choose a topic that you are interested in.


The population is the sample. It can be a group or an individual. Highlight the clinical background of the patient. Give other relevant details such as age, weight and geographical location. You can also include gender, ethnicity and the disorder that the individual is suffering from, for example, two – 65-year-old patients from New York City suffering from dementia.


The intervention is the treatment that the population is exposed to. It should be measurable. It is easier to use quantitative data rather than qualitative. Intervention can include a management strategy or a diagnostic test. For instance, giving patients with chronic pains ibuprofen pain relievers for six weeks.


The comparison is used to compare the effects of the intervention on the population to the reference group. For instance, if you are comparing the workability of two painkillers; aspirin and ibuprofen. You can analyze the effects of each drug on different groups of patients with chronic pain for a certain duration of time.


The outcome is the consequences of the intervention. Different tools are used to measure the effects of the intervention on the population, for example, a quality of life index tool and neck disability index. The tools are used to connect the question with the outcome. The outcome should be related to the PICOT question.

Time /Type

Time represents the duration in which the research was conducted or the type of study. Between aspirin and ibuprofen, which drug relieves pain within an hour for patients with chronic pain? This is a good example of a PICOT question. Patients with chronic pain are the population. Intervention is exposure to painkillers. Comparison is between ibuprofen and aspirin. The outcome is the reduction of pain. Time is within an hour. A PICOT question paper should explain the five concepts of population, intervention, comparison, outcome and time.

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