The first step in research or evidence-based practice is defining a problem and asking a question . In the research process this becomes part of developing a proposal for a study. In the clinical setting, ‘asking a question’ may become part of a research study, a quality improvement project, or lead to evidence based practice.
A commonly used format for creating a clinical question is known as PICO which refers to:
P Patient population of interest
I Intervention/issue of interest
C Comparison of interest
O Outcome of interest
The Duke University/University of North Carolina tutorial on evidence-based practice includes an example of PICO.