Use this worksheet from Sonoma State University to help you structure your PICO question.
The PICO Model
What is the PICO model?
A model to help define a clinical question in terms of the specific patient/population/problem. The PICO model aids the searcher (you) in finding clinically relevant evidence in the literature in an organized way.
When to use the PICO model-
Background questions concern general knowledge. These types of questions generally have only two parts:
A question root (who, what, when, where, how, why)
A disorder, test, treatment, or other aspect of health care
Often these questions can best be answered by using a textbook or consulting a clinical database.
Foreground questions are specific knowledge questions that affect clinical decisions, including a broad range of biologic, psychological, and sociologic issues. These are the questions that generally require a search of the primary medical literature and that are best suited to the PICO format.
PICO Model for Clinical Questions
Patient, Population, or Problem
How would I describe a group of patients similar to mine?
Intervention, Prognostic Factor, or Exposure
Which main intervention, prognostic factor,
or exposure am I considering?
Comparison or Intervention (if appropriate)
What is the main alternative to compare
with the intervention?
Outcome you would like to measure or achieve
What can I hope to accomplish, measure,
improve, or affect?