Skip to Main Content

Evidence-Based Medicine & Practice (EBM/EBP)


PICO is an acronym that can help focus your research question. PICO stands for:

 P  Patient, Population, or Problem
 I  Intervention
 C  Comparison or Control
 O  Outcome


Here is an example.

Population In high school football players who have received head injuries...
Intervention would weekly checks of the air within the helmet padding...
Comparison when compared to checking air pressure before the season and again mid-season...
Outcome lead to lower concussion rates?

In this example, the focus is on high school football players with head injuries. This study compares weekly helmet checks to only two checks a season.

  • Is there a decrease in concussions rates with weekly checks?
  • If there is enough evidence, should the school district require athletic trainers and football staff to check the helmets weekly?

If the school district does changes their helmet-checking requirements and schedules, this would be an evidence based practice.

Learn more about formulating a research question with PICO in our tutorial video (and the guides linked below it!).