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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


View the example PICO worksheet below which is used to formulate a question relating to children with a temperature presenting to Emergency Centres. A blank PICO worksheet is available for you to practice how to formulate your question.

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

The question used in this guide was developed using the PICO concept. View the completed form.

"What interventions reduce the incidence and severity of bed sores in residents of aged care facilities?"

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