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Dietetics & Nutrition

Asking Good Questions

The key to finding appropriate evidence is to ask a searchable, answerable question.  The PICO framework is often used as a guide for asking clinical questions.

= patient, problem, population
I  = intervention
C = comparison intervention, control
O = outcome(s)

Have you noticed resources that refer to PICOT instead of PICO?  Some EBP experts add T to the standard PICO framework.  The T usually stands for time and can be helpful in making sure you're thinking of the appropriate time frame for your intervention and/or outcomes.

How to Build a PICO Question

Video created by Show Me The Evidence.

PICO Examples

Example 1

Your patient has Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and you wonder how switching to a low-FODMAP diet may affect her symptoms.

P = Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

I = low-FODMAP diet

C = regular diet

O = IBS symptoms

"In patients with IBS, how does adhering to a low-FODMAP diet affect IBS symptoms?"

Example 2

You are working with a patient who has Type 2 Diabetes and is overweight. They have asked you whether it would be better for them to follow an intermittent fasting diet or just restrict calorie intake to lose weight.

P = Type 2 Diabetes

I = intermittent fasting

C = calorie restriction

O = weight loss

"In patients with Type 2 Diabetes, how does intermittent fasting compare with calorie restriction in affecting weight loss?"