Excerpt: The PICOT format is a helpful approach for summarizing research questions that explore the effect of therapy:
(P) – Population refers to the sample of subjects you wish to recruit for your study. There may be a fine balance between defining a sample that is most likely to respond to your intervention (e.g. no co-morbidity) and one that can be generalized to patients that are likely to be seen in actual practice.
(I) – Intervention refers to the treatment that will be provided to subjects enrolled in your study.
(C) – Comparison identifies what you plan on using as a reference group to compare with your treatment intervention. Many study designs refer to this as the control group. If an existing treatment is considered the ‘gold standard’, then this should be the comparison group.
(O) – Outcome represents what result you plan on measuring to examine the effectiveness of your intervention. Familiar and validated outcome measurement tools relevant to common chiropractic patient populations may include the Neck Disability Index Roland-Morris Questionnaire. There are, typically, a multitude of outcome tools available for different clinical populations, each having strengths and weaknesses.
(T) – Time describes the duration for your data collection.