UTS Library

Finding Evidence Based Practice Resources: PICO Framework

In this guide:

One of the best and most efficient ways to find Evidence Based Practice resources is by using the PICO framework. Breaking down a scenario into these areas allows you to conduct a clear and structured search in the health databases to find the most relevant evidence.

PICO stands for:

Population: the patient or problem

Intervention: what you plan to do such as a specific test, treatment or therapy.

Comparison: alternative treatment or method

Outcome: relevant outcomes of your intervention


In our example scenario; 5-year-old Sam suffers from night-time bedwetting, or nocturnal enuresis and his parents dont want him to take extra medications which in the conventional therapy.

The ’P’ in this scenario is ‘child’ and ‘bedwetting’ as this is the issue.

‘I’ intervention is ‘bed wetting alarm’ this is the potential treatment.

‘C’ medication such as desmopressin.

‘O’ No bed wetting’ or becoming dry is the desired outcome.

Once you have broken down your question, identify possible keywords and Mesh terms from your scenario.

Keywords are words or concepts that describe your scenario. To identify your keywords, start by looking in your textbooks, subject readings or search Google to find some examples.It can be helpful to breakdown your scenario into a table, this will help you later on when searching.

We also recommend including Mesh terms in your search. MeSH stands for Medical Subject Headings. Mesh terms describe what the article or report is about and they make it easier to find all the relevant information about a subject. You can search for MeSH terms using this browser.


Your table would look something like this





Nocturnal Enuresis (MeSH)


Bed wetting alarm (Keyword)

Deamino Arginine Vasopressin (MeSH)

No bed wetting (not to be entered)

Enuresis (MeSH)

Bedwetting alarm (keyword)



Urinary Incontinence (MeSH)

Buzzer alarm (keyword)



Urinary Incontinence (keyword)

Enuresis alarm (keyword)



Bedwetting (keyword)

Behavior therapy (MeSH)



Bed wetting (keyword)

Behaviour therapy (keyword)