Finding the Evidence
Getting Started with your research
Using PICO to frame your research topic : the PICO model can help you identify the key components in your research topic and for a searchable question
P - Patient or Population or Problem/Disease
Who or what is the question about? This may include the primary problem, disease, or circumstances.
I - Intervention, Exposure or Prognostic Factor
What main intervention/treatment are you considering? What factor may influence the prognosis of the patient? What was the patient exposed to?
C - Comparison(s) or Control (optional)
What alternative intervention are you considering, if any? For example, you might be comparing the efficacy of two medications or the accuracy of two diagnostic tests. Your clinical question does not have to always have a specific comparison.
O - Outcome(s)
What are you trying to accomplish or measure? What are you trying to do for the patient or problem?
- Finding the evidence
- Primary sources, such as PubMed, are the best place to start to find original studies (evidence) to answer your question
- Secondary sources, such as review articles or Micromedex, offer supporting or background information that can either answer your question or further support your clinical question
Other Sources to Consider
Organizing Your Citations
As you search the journal literature online, you will need to collect/organize your references. The easiest way to do this is to use a citation management software, such as Mendeley or EndNote. Benefits to using these are:
- Stores citation information online
- Creates bibliography section of the review with a few mouse clicks
- Saves time
Mendeley is a freely available citation manager that helps you manage your PDF collections.
- Using Mendeley to organize your PDFs (tutorial)
- Importing documents into Mendeley (tutorial)
- Citing references (tutorial)