Before you start developing your research question, think about your research objectives:
Watch the following video (6:26) to get you started:
The benefits of doing a background search:
|Note: You can do background searches at any stage of the development of your question.|
Pick an area of interest and explore its different aspects to identify a topic.
|In this step, a background search will help you identify articles and books which can inspire more ideas and reveal aspects of your research interest that you may not have considered.|
The resources linked below are a good place to start:
Now you have explored different aspects of your topic, you may construct more focused questions (you can create a few questions and pick one later).
|A background search will show you how others formulate their questions, hence expand your research direction.|
Once you have a few questions to choose from, pick one and refine it even further.
|A background search may help you identify additional keywords in this step.|
The PICO framework (or other variations) can be useful for developing an answerable clinical question.
The example question used in this guide is a PICO question:
How does speech therapy compare to cognitive behavioural therapy in improving speech fluency in adolescents?
|P||Population OR Patient OR Problem
What are the characteristics of the patient or population? OR
What is the condition or disease you are interested in?
|teenager with a stutter|
|I/E||Intervention OR Exposure
What do you want to do with the patient (e.g. treat, diagnose, observe etc.)?
|C||Comparison OR Comparator
What is the alternative to the treatment (e.g.placebo, different drug, surgery)?
|cognitive behavioural therapy|
What is the relevant outcome (e.g. morbidity, complications)?
|Note: PICO is one option, there are other frameworks you can use too!|
Use the interactive PICO worksheet to get started with your question, or you can download the worksheet document.
Here are some different frameworks you may want to use:
|PICO(T)||Population (patient), Intervention, Comparison (control) and Outcome. Add a Timeframe if required. Used particularly for treatment type questions.|
|PECO(T)||A variation of PICO where E= Exposure and T=Timeframe if required.|
|PIPOH||Developed in the context of practice guideline adaptation. Includes P= Professionals/Patients, O= Outcome and H= Healthcare Setting.|
|SPICE||S= Setting (where), P= Perspective (for whom), I= Intervention (what), C= Comparison (compared with what), E= Evaluation (Booth 2006).|
|SPIDER||S= Sample, P= Phenomenon of interest, D= Design, E= Evaluation, R= Research type. Useful for qualitative or mixed method studies (Cooke, Smith and Booth 2012).|
|ECLIPSE||E= Expectations, C= Client group, L= Location, I= Impact, P= Profession, SE= Service (Wildridge & Bell 2002).|
|PESTLE||P= Political, E= Economic, S= Social, T= Technological, E= Environmental, L= Legal (CIPD 2010).|
There are a number of PICO variations which can be used for different types of questions, such as qualitative, and background and foreground questions. Visit the Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) Guide to learn more: