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Preparing for Qualifying Exams in Biomedical Engineering

A collection of resources to assist graduate students to find and synthesize information in Biomedical Engineering

Searching for information

The primary databases we will be using include

  • PubMed
  • Cochrane Database

But before we get started, let's learn about how to create a strategy for finding relevant information using the PICO method.

What does PICO mean?


The first stage of any evidence-based practice process is formulating an answerable question. This forms the foundation for quality searching. A well-formulated question will facilitate the search for evidence and will assist you in determining whether the evidence is relevant to your question.

An answerable question has a format that follows the PICO concept. The acronym translates to:

  • PPopulations/People/Patient/Problem
  • IIntervention(s)
  • CComparison
  • OOutcome

This website from the University of Wisconsin-Madison may help you to understand and use the PICO concept to create a search strategy.