4. How to construct a good EBVM question?

4.1. (S) P – Species, Patient: population and/or problem

4.1 (S) P – Species, Patient: population and/or problem

Species - that bit is easy! The next step in formulating a clinical question in the (S)PICO format is to consider the patient and the clinical problem you are faced with.

It is helpful to think in terms of the population you are dealing with and to characterise your patient in general terms (e.g. a geriatric cat with a diagnosis of chronic kidney disease).

Table 1: Examples of questions expressed as species, patient and clinical problem


Which diet is best to feed to cats with chronic renal disease?

Cats with chronic renal disease

Which diagnostic test is most reliable for diagnosing fascioliasis in lactating dairy cattle?

Diagnosis of fascioliasis in lactating dairy cattle

Does sex affect survival in flat-coat retrievers with cutaneous lymphoma?

Flat-coated retrievers with cutaneous lymphoma

Are the risks of inhalational induction of general anaesthesia higher compared to injectable induction ferrets under different protocols?

Ferrets undergoing general anaesthesia

Are cardiac disorders in Welsh Section A mountain ponies more prevalent than other breeds?