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How Do I Write a Research Question?

In evidence-based practice, PICOT is a model used to write research questions.  PICOT is an acronym for ...

P: Population/Problem/Patient

I: Intervention

C: Comparison variable

O: Outcomes

T: Time

Building a Search Strategy

From your research question, identify the main concepts.  Brainstorm alternate keywords.  There are three commonly used connectors: AND, OR, NOT.  


In children, can a music intervention reduce pain within 24 hours postoperatively?

P (population or patient): children

I (intervention): music

C (control variable): no music

O (outcome): reduced pain

T (time): within 24 hours following surgery

Building the search:

Connector Example Results
AND children AND music AND pain AND postoperative Results contain all the terms 
OR children OR adolescents Results will contain either term
NOT children NOT infants Results will eliminate a term 

Finding Background Information

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