A well-built clinical question is specific to patient care and helps guide your search for evidence-based answers. There are generally four components of a good clinical question and they are represented by the acronym PICO.
P - Patient, population or problem of interest
I - Intervention - therapy, diagnostic test, exposure, etc.
C - Comparison intervention or comparison of interest
O - Outcome(s) of interest
For example, your question might be: Is Vitamin C more effective than echinacea in preventing the common cold? You can break that down into the PICO format.
P - Adult with a cold
I - Vitamin C
C - Echinacea
O - Prevention of cold
The PICO format will help you translate your question from an initial broad topic or a question specific to an individual patient's experience, to a concrete, objective question that you can find clinical evidence to answer.
PICO(S) Question Worksheet: