To identify a problem or concern that nursing can change and select key words for a literature search.
Use the form below to complete the PICOT assignment in Milestone #1. This includes filling in the table with
information about your research question and your PICO(T) elements, as well as answering the Search Technique
Step 1: Identify the Problem. What have you noticed in your work or school environment that isn’t achieving the
desired patient or learning outcomes? What needs to change in nursing, what can you change with the support of
evidence in the literature? Determine the focus of the research question – Assessment, Diagnosis, Etiology,
Prevention, Prognosis, or Therapy.
Step 2: Identify a potential solution. Do you have an idea of what could be done to solve the problem?
Step 3: Create your research question. State your full question. For example: For new students entering an online
program would a mandatory orientation course improve retention by increasing computer literacy and professional
Step 4: Select the key PICOT terms for searching the evidence. Is the potential solution something for which you
(as nurse or student) can find a solution through evidence research? In the above example the PICOT search terms
P = students entering online program
I = mandatory orientation
C= elective orientation or none
O = increased retention
T = second semester
Focus of the question:Your PICO(T) Elements
P = Patients(s) or problem
Patient, patient population or presenting issue
I = Intervention under Consideration
C = Comparison
What is the current practice you are comparing to “I”? (This element may be implied or missing)
O = Outcome
What is the effect of the “I” on “P?” What is desired outcome?
T = Time
Is there a need to limit the timeframe for the intervention?
Search Techniques: Please answer the following questions below.
1. What three database(s) in the CCN library best address your research question (CINAHL, Cochrane, Medline,
ERIC, (others; i.e. what subject heading would you use to perform your search)?
2. How can you focus or expand the search if initial search results are not satisfactory?
3. Describe ways you might refine your general search to reduce the number of results from your search. Can
you use the EBSCO subject headings? What about the advanced search option using Boolean limiters such as AND. Once
you have a reasonable number of relevant search results (10-30) what final limiters will, you set to reduce the
search results further (i.e., English language limiter, age limiters, publication year limiters, peer-reviewed
journal limiter, and/or human subject limiter)?
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