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Health Services Policy and Management

Writing Research Questions

In the health sciences, the PICO model can be used to write research questions. The letter "P" stands for population, problem, or patient.  The letter "I" represents the intervention or exposure.  The letter "C" stands for the comparison group.  Lastly, the letter "O" represents the outcome.


In the United States, do financial incentives increase COVID vaccination rates?

P (population): persons living in the United States

I (intervention): financial incentives

C (control group): not specified, but no financial incentives

O (outcome): increased COVID vaccinations

Developing a Search Strategy

To develop a search strategy, identify the main concepts and brainstorm for alternate keywords. Then, begin to connect your keywords.


Connector Example Retrieves
AND incentives AND COVID AND vaccinations  Results will contain all the terms.  
OR  COVID OR coronavirus  Results will contain either term.
NOT vaccines NOT influenza  Eliminates a term from results.

Finding Background Information

Use these sources to gain familiarity with your topic, narrow your research question, provide context, and identify experts.