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Asking Good Question

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)

Don't have a comparison for your question?  Remove the C and develop a PIO question instead.

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.

PICO Question Examples

The following are some examples of PICO questions relevant to AAC studies:

For persons recently diagnosed with Stage 2 ALS (P), how would initiating the assessment for high technology AAC interventions as soon as possible (I), compare with waiting until speech has significantly deteriorated (C), in affecting communication performance (O)?
In school-aged children who rely on AAC (P), how would language-based treatment (I) compare with activity-based treatment (C) in affecting core vocabulary (O)?
For preschool-aged autistic children using AAC (P), how would a parent training program (I) compare with a 1 day/week training with classroom support (C) affect expressive language skills (O)?

The above examples were adapted from: Hill, K. & Romich, B. (2007). AAC Evidence-Based Practice: Four Steps to Optimized Communication.  AAC Institute Press, 6(1).

How to Build a PICO or PIO Question

For more information on how to form a clinical, foreground question using the PICO framework, check out the below resources.

The following resources use more traditional medical or clinical questions, however the same basic strategies can be adapted to Assistive Technology topics.

Video created by Jeffrey Hill.  This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Video created by Clinical Information Sciences. Video created by Show Me The Evidence.