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Environmental and Occupational Health

Librarian

Jamie Johnson's picture
Jamie Johnson
Contact:
Oviatt Library 110C
jamie.johnson@csun.edu
(818)677-6059
Website

What is PICO-T?

According to the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine (CEBM), well-formed clinical questions are essential in practicing EBM. "To benefit patients and clinicians, such questions need to be both directly relevant to patients' problems and phrased in ways that direct your search to relevant and precise answers." - CEBM, University of Toronto.

The PICO model is a tool that can help you formulate a good clinical question. Sometimes it's referred to as PICO-T, containing an optional 5th factor. 

PICO-T Summary
 P - Patient,  Population, or  Problem What are the most important characteristics of the patient? How  would you describe a group of patients similar to yours?
 - Intervention,  Exposure,  Prognostic Factor What main intervention, prognostic factor, or exposure are you  considering? What do you want to do for the patient (prescribe a  drug,  order a test, etc.)?
C - Comparison What is the main alternative to compare with the intervention? 
O - Outcome What do you hope to accomplish, measure, improve, or affect?
T - Time Factor,  Type of Study  (optional) How would you categorize this question? What would be the best study design to answer this question?

For more information visit PICO: Cochrane Library Tutorial

Search Tips

Boolean Searches

  • AND: searches for all of the search terms.  Using *and* in between search terms will narrow your search.  For example
    • women and prohibition  
  • OR: searches for at least one of the search terms.  Using *or* in between search terms will broaden your search. For example: 
    • women or female 
    • prohibition or temperance 
  • NOT: excludes the search term immediately after the NOT operator.  Therefore, use "not" in front of a term to ensure that the search will not include that term. For example: 
    • alcohol not drugs 
  • Phrase searches
    • Please quotation marks (“ “) around the words that you want to be search together as a phrase. For example:
      • "Eighteenth Amendment" 
      • "Women's Christian Temperance Movement" 
  • Wildcard searches
    • The use of the asterisk (*) is a wildcard that most databases all you to use to search a root word and variable endings to broaden search results.  For example: 
      • latin* (retrieves "latin," "latins," "latino," "latinos," "latina," "latinas")

Keywords vs Subject Searching

keyword cloud

Keywords

  • Your topic itself may prove to be the words that may up your search term(s). 
  • Keywords searches look for that search term(s) in the title, subject, author, summary or abstract fields.
  • Keywords will also be searched for repetition in the document.  Keywords found frequently or throughout an article may push that article higher in the search results.
  • Keywords matches to dot distinguish between context and purpose.  It may match the correct word but not in the 

Subject Searching 

  • A subject search will locate materials by Library of Congress Subject Headings, which is a controlled vocabulary or standard list of subject terms. The Oviatt Library assigns Library of Congress Subject Headings to all items listed in the online catalog.
  • The number of results may vary widely.  Some searches will retrieve hundreds of results but if you choose a nonexistent subject term while others get nothing.  
  • If you do not know the appropriate subject heading for your topic, conduct a keyword search first and look at the subject heading(s) for relevant items.  

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