4. How to construct a good EBVM question?

4.5. Example (S)PICO questions

4.5 Example (S)PICO questions

You have now looked at all the elements required to construct a full (S)PICO question.

Below are structured example (S)PICO questions created around the examples from the previous section ‘How to construct a good EBVM question?’ for the five different types of clinical question.

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

(S)PICO: In [cats with chronic renal disease] does [feeding a renal prescription diet] compared with [not feeding a renal prescription diet] impact on [survival time]?

Original question: Which diagnostic test is most reliable for diagnosing fascioliasis in dairy cattle?

(S)PICO: In [lactating dairy cattle] does the [milk ELISA] compared with [serum ELISA] have better [positive and negative predictive values] for [diagnosing fascioliasis]?

Original question: Does sex affect survival in flat-coated retrievers with cutaneous lymphoma?

(S)PICO: In [flat-coated retrievers with cutaneous lymphoma], does [being a male] compared with [being a female] affect [average life expectancy]?

Original question: What are the risks of inducing general anaesthesia in ferrets under different protocols?

(S)PICO: In [ferrets undergoing general anaesthesia], what is the [risk of death] under general anaesthesia induced by [triple injectable agent] compared with the [inhalational agent]?

Original question: What is the prevalence of cardiac disorders in Welsh Section A mountain ponies?

(S)PICO: In [horses], does [being a Welsh Section A mountain pony] compared with [being any other breed] increase the [prevalence of cardiac disorders]?

The (S)PICO framework can be applied to most clinical questions and is easy to use once you have learned its salient principles.