After first identifying an information need, the next step in evidence-based practice is to re-frame the problem by posing a clearly stated and searchable question. EBP practitioners use a structure called PICO to advance their thoughts from fuzzy and generalized to crisp and precise.
PICO is a framework for structuring a clinical question by separating it into four components. Framing the PICO helps you identify some of the keywords you will use in searching databases.
P = What are the significant characteristics of the patient or the population?
I = What intervention are you considering?
C = Are you considering another intervention as a comparison to the first?
O = What is the desired outcome of the intervention(s)?
Time is sometimes a fifth element of PICO.
(T) = How much time does it take for an intervention to reach an outcome?