OBIO 5001: Methods in Research and Writing

PubMed search

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 manager. Benefits to using these are:

  • Stores citation information online
  • Creates bibliography section 
  • Saves time

EndNote Desktop

EndNote is a client-based citation manager that you can purchase with an academic discount from the University Bookstore

Learn more about EndNote Desktop including how to connect EndNote to FindIt so you can import PDFs from the Libraries' collections.


Zotero is a free citation manager that works with MS Word and Google Docs. Create an account, download the desktop application and learn more with Zotero guides and tutorials

Last Updated: Jan 11, 2023 10:20 AM