Sometimes it helps to write an answerable question that begins and ends with a patient, population, or problem. This helps to develop a clinical research and/or EBP question. Using for developing searchable and answerable clinical questions are useful tools during the research process.
PICO is most widely used in quantitative research questions:
Try using the PICO search option in TRIP for systematic reviews, meta analyses etc.
USING PICO TO FORM THE RESEARCH QUESTION
Is (intervention) more efficient than (comparison) in managing stage 1 breast cancer (problem) for women (population)?
The FINER and SPIDER models can be useful for qualitative, quantitative and mixed methodology:
For more information, have a look at these articles:
PEO is most useful for qualitative research questions:
USING PEO TO FORM THE RESEARCH QUESTION
Does the quality of life (outcome or theme) change when women on HRT (population and problems) are diagnosed with breast cancer (exposure)?
Once you master using Boolean techniques for searching, there are a few more advanced searches you can achieve:
Nested searches are a more complex boolean search e.g.
cancer NOT (breast OR bowel) AND treatment
This search would look for the treatment of all cancer except breast or bowel.
Some databases allow for searching for words within the same sentence or within a defined number of words within one another.
"breast cancer" SAME "treatment outcomes" : using SAME will search for "breast cancer" and "treatment outcomes" in same sentence
"breast cancer" W3 "treatment outcomes" : using W3 will search for "breast cancer" within 3 words of "treatment outcomes"
"breast cancer" NEAR "treatment outcomes" : using NEAR will search for "breast cancer" within the databases definition of NEAR to "treatment outcomes"