One way of focusing your question is by using the PICO format (you may also see PICO(T) or PICOTT). PICO includes several factors that, when searched together, comprise a well-built clinical question. It includes:
You can clarify your intended results at the outset with additional, optional factors:
Take the following sample question:
In adult patients with Cardiovascular Disease (CVD), does the consumption of plant-based saturated fats when compared to a monounsaturated fat result in a more improved CVD risk metabolic profile?
This example covers all elements of PICO, and provides us four distinct elements to convert into search terms:
In the next section, "Levels of Evidence," you'll learn more about identifying the best possible evidence and the different types of clinical questions.