4. How to construct a good EBVM question?

4. How to construct a good EBVM question?

A well-formed clinical question is the most efficient route to obtaining a clear answer to the problem or challenge you are interested in. The question you ask needs to be formatted in such a way as to aid you in your search for answers.

Formatting your question correctly is important in ensuring that your search for evidence is structured, systematic and complete. See the Acquire section of this resource for more details.

Various systems have been developed to assist practitioners in formatting their clinical problems into useful questions, enabling a structured, systematic and complete search of the evidence. The system depends on the type of question being asked.

The most common system used to format a question is the PICO system, focusing on the:

  • P – Patient: population and/or problem
  • I – Intervention: treatment, or thing of Interest: prognostic factor or exposure
  • C – Comparator: comparison or control
  • O – Outcome

We will focus on the PICO system in this resource. Sometimes it is adapted to (S)PICO where the ‘S’ stands for species. You will commonly see PICO used and sometimes SPICO. Species is part of the patient definition (in ‘P’) but adding the ‘S’ will ensure you don’t forget it.