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Forming Research Questions

Resources and information on how to form clear, focused, and answerable questions for research

Types of Clinical Questions

Clinical questions can be divided into categories. 

Types of Clinical Questions

  •  Intervention/Therapy: Addresses the treatment of an illness or disability.
  •  Etiology / Harm: Addresses the causes or origins of disease (i.e., factors that produce or predispose toward a certain disease or disorder).
  •  Diagnosis: Addresses the act or process of identifying or determining the nature and cause of a disease or injury through evaluation.
  •  Prognosis/Prediction: Adddresses the prediction of the course of a disease.
  •  Meaning: Addresses how one experiences a phenomenon. How does a particular experience include a specific population?

Reference:  Adapted from the PICOT Questions Template; Ellen Fineout-Overholt, 2006. This form may be used for educational & research purposes without permission

Questions and Evidence

Knowing what kind of question you are asking can be useful because some types of questions are more easily answered by particular types of evidence. The following chart details types of evidence useful for answering particular types of questions. 

PICOT Templates and Examples