How to Write a PICOT Question

How to Write a PICOT Question

How do you Write a PICOT Question?

What is a PICOT Question?

A PICOT Question is a question that is formatted in an accepted format, and used to develop answerable, researchable questions, especially in nursing. PICOT question mainly answers four main areas including population, intervention, control, outcome, and time.

For example,

In women of age 60 and above at risk of developing osteoporosis, is educations and medication for one year effective in reducing the complication of osteoporosis compared to none?

In the example given above, the question  breaks down as follows:

Population – Women of age 60 and above

Intervention – Education and medication

Control – None, which means there is no intervention

Outcome – Reducing the complications of osteoporosis

Time – One year

PICOT Statement

PICOT statement is the same as the PICOT question. The PICOT statement, which prominently features in PICOT essays, essentially describes the way in which the PICOT question has been put together to express a statement. However, when asked to describe the PICOT statement in a PICOT essay, you are supposed to give more details about the PICOT questions, explaining each part of the question in details.

Here is a good example of a PICOT Statement Paper


In high risk patients, does the use of silver-hydrogel urinary catheters reduce incidences of catheter-associated urinary tract infections compared to using uncoated urinary catheters per 1,000 patient days?


Owing to their vulnerability, high risk patients are at a higher risk of developing complications if the infections are not addressed. In addition, high-risk patients suffering from conditions such as diarrhoea, and diabetes are at a high risk of developing catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs). Among the high risk patients, use of normal urinary catheters significantly increases the costs of hospitalization. Moreover, using normal uncoated urinary catheters in high-risk patients increases the levels of morbidity and mortality.

Interventions (using silver-hydrogel urinary catheters)

High risk-patients in the intervention group were treated using silver-hydrogel urinary catheters. Following the introduction of the device, the patients were monitored regularly. High risk patients who had a UTI on admission and those who had long-term indwelling urinary catheters were excluded from the study. In addition, urology patients and those who could not be contacted easily were excluded. 

Comparison (uncoated catheters)

High-risk patients in the control group were treated using the normal uncoated catheters. The exclusion criteria used was similar to that one of the intervention group. The patients were monitored through their inpatient stay during which they were evaluated for any symptoms of UTI.


Silver-coated catheters showed a significant reduction in the development of catheter-associated bacteriuria. The rate of non-coated catheter was 4.9/1000 patient days and that of non-coated catheters was 2.7/1000 patient days (Lai & Fontecchio, 2000). This translates to 45% reduction in CAUTIs.

A study conducted by Gentry (2005) supports these results. This study found out that the use of silver-coated catheters led to a 33.5% reduction in CAUTIs. The results of these studies indicate that silver-coated catheters are beneficial to high-risk patients, and those requiring an indwelling catheter for longer than 48 hours. 


Measuring the outcomes was done weekly, for a period of six months. 

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