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- Develop an answerable question
- Check for recent systematic reviews
- Agree on specific inclusion and exclusion criteria
- Develop a system to organize data and notes
- Devise reproducible search methods
- Launch and track exhaustive search
- Organize search results
- Reproduce search results
- Abstract data into a standardized format
- Synthesize data using statistical methods (meta-analysis)
- Write about what you found
What is PICO(T)?
PICO is a tool commonly used in medical and health research to help researchers formulate a question. The difficulty in creating a question is often underestimated and PICO can help us parse out the important keys a good question should contain. This is just a tool, not a rigid structure in which all questions must fit.
P = Patient, Population, and/or Problem
I = Intervention
C = Comparison (not always applicable)
O = Outcome
T = *Type of Study (what study design is most appropriate to answer the question?)
Sometimes you will see PICO TT where the additional T stands for the type of question you are asking which you do need to know to determine the best study design.
*In some PICO(T) models you will see T stand for time. This only works if your question includes a concept of time.
McMasters University Hedges Team
The focus of the Hedges Project (see attached for additional information), which is funded by the National Library of Medicine, is to investigate ways to develop and harness search filters ("hedges") that will improve retrieval of scientifically sound and clinically relevant study reports from large, general purpose, biomedical research bibliographic databases including MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PsycINFO. The purposes of the search filters are:
1. to enable health care providers to do their own clinical searches effectively and efficiently;
2. to help reviewers of published evidence concerning health care problems to retrieve all relevant citations;
3. to provide resources for librarians to help clinicians to construct their own searches; and
4. to provide input to the database producers about their indexing processes and the organization of their databases.
PubMed Search Strategies
"This blog has been created to share PubMed search strategies. Search strategies posted here are not perfect. They are posted in the hope that others will benefit from the work already put into their creation and/or will offer suggestions for improvements"
Search Filter Resources-Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, InterTASC Information Specialists' Sub-Group Search Filter Resource
The InterTASC Information Specialists' Sub-Group (ISSG) is the group of information professionals supporting research groups within England and Scotland providing technology assessments to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and other associated Information Specialists.
The InterTASC Information Specialists' Sub-Group Search Filter Resource is a collaborative venture to identify, assess and test search filters designed to retrieve research by study design or focus. The Search Filters Resource aims to provide easy access to published and unpublished search filters. It also provides information and guidance on how to critically appraise search filters, study design filters in progress and information on the development and use of search filters. Inclusion of a search filter is not an endorsement of its validity or a recommendation.
Search Strategy Used to Create the Systematic Reviews Subset on PubMed
This strategy is intended to retrieve citations identified as systematic reviews, meta-analyses, reviews of clinical trials, evidence-based medicine, consensus development conferences, guidelines, and citations to articles from journals specializing in review studies of value to clinicians. This filter can be used in a search as systematic [sb].
Example: exercise hypertension AND systematic [sb]