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Nursing Research

This guide centralized information for Nursing Research.

How to Use the PICO Method to Form a Clinical Question

Form a PICO Question

Identify the details of your topic in order to compose a question. Use the PICO form on the right for help.

Questions Example Answers Search Terms
MeSH* Keywords**
(Ex: illness, condition, age, gender, ethnicity)
hospital aquired infection cross infection nosocomial infection
(Ex: medication, diet, activity, or method)
handwashing hand disinfection   hand sanitation
Are you making a COMPARISON
(Ex: alternate treatment, medication, or method)

What is the intended OUTCOME
(Ex: health status, delayed or eliminated illness)

reduced infection see first box see first box

Clinical Question (example): Is handwashing effective in reducing hospital aquired infections?

*MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) - set of terms used in biomedical databases to "tag" the subjects contained in articles.

**Keywords - text found in articles or article titles that describe the subject; similar topics; synonyms.

What is MeSH?

Searching Medical Literature: Using Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)


Were you given an article to read? Find out how to get the full text here.


Helpful Worksheets


Career Planning

Nurse Practitioner Scope of Practice Laws - By State