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Lund University

Search, evaluate, write and cite

Support for students at the Faculty of Medicine.

Define a research question

It's important to formulate a focused research question for your academic work. There are different frameworks you can use to help structure your research question. The different frameworks are applicable for different kind of studies.  

  • The PICO framework is suitable for research questions looking at clinical treatments and interventions
  • The PEO framework suitable for qualitative research questions and relates to person, environment and work, for ex. within nursing and occupational therapy

The PICO framework

Use the PICO framework when you are using a clinical research question.

Video How to use PICO to refine your research question (1:43 min) Medical College of Wisconsin Libraries

Example PICO question

Image of Example of PICO question

The PEO framework

If you have a qualitative research question you can use the PEO framework. This film shows examples of both PICO and PEO questions. 

Video PEO and PICO question (2:53 min).

Example PEO question

Image of Example of PEO question

Frameworks for Research Questions

More examples

Video Evidence based practice (EBP) Module 1: Clinical questions  (4:48 min), Dalhousie University Libraries