Before you begin to search for evidence, it is important to identify the main components of your questions. This will ensure that you are including all important parts of your questions in the same search and will help you break your search strategy into manageable pieces.
One method of identifying the main components of a question is to use the PICO framework. PICO stands for:
Patient / Population / Problem: Who are the patients? What is the clinical problem that you are investigating?
Intervention: What is the treatment or drug that you are interested in investigating? What is the diagnostic test, exposure, prognostic factor?
Comparator*: What is the primary alternative you would like to compare with your intervention? What is the gold or reference standard?
*This is optional! Your question may not include a comparator.
Outcome: What outcome are you interested in measuring, achieving, preventing, impacting?
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