How To Write PICO Question

PICO Question

Are you a nursing student looking for a comprehensive guide on how to write PICO questions? Academic papers mark quite a significant time and especially when they are your final papers they mark the threshold of your current academic pursuit, but before we jump into graduation day, let’s first figure out how to grab some A grades. Truth be told, nursing is not rated as one of the easiest studies in today’s curriculum but it is one of the most lucrative ones all over the globe. This is why you don’t need to take chances on anything at all, you have to perfect on your skill to be at the top of your game. Today our nursing essay writers will be taking you through PICO Question and if you are reading this, I can probably guess you are at a standstill with such a question or are looking to find out more on it. Then let’s not waste any more time and dive right into it, by the end of this you will be a pro-level writer in your PICO question.

PICO Question is a mnemonic that simply stands for Patient, Problem or Population, Intervention, Comparison or Control and Outcome. It is basically divided into these four parts and it is through this four-part division that we shall tackle the question. Without a question framework, evidence-based papers are quite hard to tackle ad truth be told, they have to be done at the end of the day which is why evidence-based practitioners use PICO Question to create the framework from which to work. Basically, this is the backbone to your paper since it creates all the major basis that is needed for you to formulate an evidence-based paper.

For you to formulate a good evidence-based paper, you need to work with a thesis or with a hypothesis. Now, this right here is the source of your thesis question that you are looking forward to proving all through your paper. The thesis is basically the statement that guides you all across the paper and the statement that you are either looking to prove or discredit. An evidence-based paper without this will seemingly be equal to driving with no destination. This can simply be called the map and compass through your whole paper as it tells you how to maneuver and how far you need to go. Let’s first break down PICO Question into its four interdependent sections so as to ascertain what we need to come down with for a stable thesis. Do not forget that the main intention of this whole process is to formulating well-built clinical questions that can be of benefit to not only the patients but also the clinicians as well. The questions here have to be both well-phrased in a way to ease the search for answers as well as relevant to the patient s problems. When all these boxes are checked, then you can know that you are on the right track

How to write PICO question


In layman terms, population simply depicts people in a certain geographical region under the same conditions. However, this can be generalized or specialized to a certain group. Population can also be broken down to bring a portion of the total number under study in retrospect to the matter in question. However, in nursing I want you to think of age, gender, socio-economic status, occupation, medical records ethnicity and even more importantly what their problem is. These factors are usually all tied together in some way.

Over years of study, it has been seen that people with similar conditions tend to have something in common and this makes them be graded in the same population group sample. Basically what is covered under population will trickle all the way down from the generalizing to the individual patient. I tend to think of this stage of the question as the ‘who’ stage as you try to understand your patient as it comes a long way into treatment.


Intervention simply means where you come in through for the patient, this is where you interject between them and the disease. In this basically, where you get to ask yourself, what do you want to do with this patient? It may be a variety of various causes of action such as therapeutical measures, lifestyle changes, medication, diagnostic tests or even surgical interventions.


The PICO Question process is quite dependent on each individual entry and is placed to be sort of a cycle, at this stage; you will information from the population and intervention for the comparison. Basically, this is where you compare the intervention to another treatment, diagnostic test, placebo or even drug. This proves highly effective as it allows you the pleasure of being precise. You are able to eliminate possibilities which denies you the pleasure of being misled by misjudgment. However, on some occasions, you will realize that there is nothing to compare to and this should not be a problem whenever there is no comparison.


After getting to study the population/ patient then intervening and later comparing it what are you expecting to see? What are your expected findings? This is what the outcome is all about, I tend to think of it as the stage that gives results. The outcome process constitutes of rigorous study of statistical findings and this makes it highly effective and accurate. By the rigorous testing process of ALL statistical data provided you should be able to determine what risks are involved in this. And are there side effects and will you get the desired results you are looking forward to?

There are however two points of view in dissecting the outcome, you can take the patient-oriented point of view or you can take the disease-oriented point of view. They may all point out different results but are both accurate. Sometimes a combination of both results is brought out to give a conclusive report.

Time frame

Most people tend to undercut the timeframe but in the more detailed structures of the PICO Question, it is usually included. This is however not as essential as the rest of the four components. The time frame is basically aimed at data collection and at giving the time of outcome. In some instances, the time used can be very crucial to tell the extent of the disease and the progression as well. Some diseases tend to ‘graduate’ with time and have alleviated symptoms.

However, during this whole process, there may be other questions involved as well that have direct input to it as well. There is a background question and foreground questions kind of setup. The background question setting is aimed at getting to understand more of the disease and patient so as to know what you are dealing with and what to look for as well while the foreground questions are aimed at helping you in making clinical decisions. During the background question setup you can ask questions on the disease and also on things such as the disease process, how did it start? How did you feel? What symptoms were exhibited? And what did you do? How often did the symptoms recur we cannot afford to ignore the fact that some patients try home treatment which may or may not have a direct implication on the disease.

The foreground questions can then be broken down into four more parts as well.


Therapy, many people would perceive it as just a medical process that helps you get over something. It could possibly be physical, mental or emotional. However, in this case, these are questions of treatment that are placed in order to achieve some specific outcome. It may cover a wide range from surgical intervention, drugs, counselling, lifestyle change, diet change and many more in the same line. However, all these questions vary depending on the population and many more variables.


Diagnosis is basically the identification of a disorder in a patient who is exhibiting specific symptoms. The diagnosis is one of the first factors to be put in mind before anything else since it creates the basis of your research and it gives specifics which narrow down the list for you substantially. Symptoms of disease A may be closely related to disease B, but there are certain highlights that clearly tell you what you are dealing with. Diagnosis closes down the long list of possibilities to only a few specifics.


Getting to understand the progression of a disease is of high importance to any clinical officer. Getting to inquire on the possibility of the disease occurring or how far it has come could prove to be much more valuable than you could imagine. It draws the line between medication and treatment plans to be taken. This is what we call prognosis. It is characterized by asking specific questions to your patient in an attempt to point out certain specifics and gathering as much information as possible. Remember, all information related to the disease is valuable.


Etiology is basically questions of the negative impact that could have resulted from an external exposure or any other intervention of any sort. They help you identify your starting point as it can pinpoint what works for your patient that does not work for the rest. It can also help you out to know if you are supposed to pick up from a point previously left or start over the process by remedying previous interventions.


Prevention, just as time, is included in extensive study and this helps establish how you can prevent this from happening again or better how to curb its spreading. It is often pointed out that when placed on the PICO framework strategy, you have to explore all possibilities of the patient’s health condition, a preventive measure that can be taken, a preventive measure and the outcome expected from this. This can comprise of mortality rate, bed rest and productivity.

How to Write PICO Questions like Professional Nurses

Question Type Population patient Problem Intervention Comparison Outcome Measures
Therapy Patient’s disease or condition. Therapeutic measure. Medication, surgical intervention, or lifestyle change. Standard care, placebo or another intervention. Mortality rate, pain, disability number of days off work.
Prevention General health condition and Patient’s risk factors. A preventive measure, medication or lifestyle change. Another preventative measure OR maybe not be applicable. Mortality rate, disease incidence number of days off work.
Diagnosis Condition or Specific disease. Procedure or a diagnostic test. Current “reference standard” test for that disease or condition. Measures of the test utility, specificity sensitivity, and odds ratio.
Prognosis Duration and severity of clinical problem. estimated usual time or expected time frame Usually not applicable. Mortality rates, Survival rates, rates of disease progression.
Etiology/harm Patient’s risk factors, general health condition, or current health disorders The intervention or exposure of interest.  Includes an indication of the strength of the risk factor and the duration of the exposure. Usually not applicable. Mortality rates, Survival rates, rates of disease progression.


With this background that covers all the basics on PICO Question papers right from breaking it down into its specific parts, doing your background and foreground evaluation and not forgetting to match them to the PICO strategy, then you are ready to formulate your question. Easy, right!!! Studying has never been this easy and given that you have access to tons of information, both extracted and raw access then you can never go wrong

For you to do a conclusive evidence-based paper (EBP) you will need to have a clear outline that will guide you all through. In this case, you will need to take care of even the nitty-gritty of your research which will require a thesis question which provides the framework of your whole paper. The PICO Question point of view is always the safest to go with and is highly recommended all around the world. However, it may need intensive research on it as well. An experts eye on the paper is always an added advantage, remember you can always have a qualified writer to ‘guide your pen’ through the PICO question and evidence practice based paper. As I always say, you have to get the best out of everything, and I believe this should not be any different.

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We hope that this blog post has helped you understand the PICO question format and given you some tools to start writing your own questions. If you need any additional help, our team of experts is available 24/7 to assist you with all of your nursing homework needs. Order PICO Question now and let us help you get the grade that you deserve!


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