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NURS 360: Journal Club assignment

This guide has been created to assist with one of the literature searching assignments for NURS 360. NOTE: This particular assignment may not be offered every year, or by every instructor.

Building a PICO question

When searching for clinical or research-oriented literature, the PICO acronym helps to frame your question into something searchable. 

Let's say for your research topic you are interested in the effect music therapy has on the elderly.  If you were to do a basic search for music therapy AND elderly, you'd get way too many results, and they wouldn't be very well focused on any one particular therapy.  To help you focus in on the particular aspects of your topic you are most interested in, use PICO to help frame your question.  The examples below illustrate how this works:

Question: Does music therapy improve quality of life for the elderly?

Quantitative PICO(t)

P Poplulation, patient, problem elderly
I Intervention music therapy
C Comparison, counter-intervention no music therapy
O Outcome quality of life
t Time (not always necessary) N/A

Qualitative PICo

P Population elderly
I Phenomenon of interest music therapy
Co Context nursing homes

By plugging my research question into the PICO framework, it has helped me identify some initial search terms I can use when searching CINAHL:

elderly AND "music therapy" AND "quality of life"

elderly AND "music therapy" AND "nursing homes"


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