Nursing - graduate: PICOT & Evidence Based Practice

What is PICO(T)?

PICO(T) stands for:

  • Population/ Patient/Problem: Who is your patient? (disease or health status, age, gender, race, sex)
  • Intervention: What do you plan to do for the patient? (specific tests, therapies, medications)
  • Comparison: What is the alternative to your plan? (for example, no treatment, different type of treatment, etc.)
  • Outcome: What is it that you want to accomplish, improve, measure, etc. (fewer symptoms, no symptoms, full health, etc.)
  • Time:  What is the time frame to achieve the outcome? (This element is not always included, so that's why it's in parentheses.)

Use the PICO(T) format to formulate questions.

Your PICO(T) question will fall under one of these types:

  • Therapy/Prevention
  • Diagnosis
  • Etiology
  • Prognosis

Note that PICO(T) is not a good methodology for researching non-clinical topics such as nursing theorists. 

Use the information below to find which level of research is appropriate for your type of PICO(T) question.

PICO(T) resources

Forming Focused Questions with PICO

The University of North Carolina's Health Sciences Library has an excellent PICO guide that includes case studies in a variety of specialties. Check it out at

Subjects: Nursing
  • Last Updated: May 23, 2024 2:24 PM
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