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Occupational Therapy: PICO

Research guide for Occupational Therapy students


The PICO/T acronym is broken down as follows: 

P=Patient population of interest
I =Intervention of interest
C=Comparison of interest
O=Outcome of interest
T=Time it takes to demonstrate an outcome
Initially only four components were included. Later, Melnyk & Fineout-Overholt (2010) added a fifth, representing time (i.e., the time it takes for the intervention to achieve an outcome, or how long participants are observed).

The example below is adapted from a research published in Oncologist journal conducted by Dr. Pergolotti (2016) and other researchers.

P=Adults with cancer (cancer-related fatigue or cognitive function impairment)
I=Occupational therapy treatment
C=No treatment
O=Improved health, well-being and functional capacity

Melnyk B. M. & Fineout-Overholt E. (2010). Evidence-based practice in nursing & healthcare: A guide to best practice (2nd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.

Pergolotti, M., Williams, G. R., Campbell, C., Munoz, L. A., & Muss, H. B. (2016). Occupational Therapy for Adults With Cancer: Why It Matters. Oncologist, 21(3), 314-319. doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2015-0335



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