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Finding qualitative research: PICo and more...

Use mnemonics to focus your research question

Mnemonics are useful techniques to guide the structuring of a systematic review question.
A qualitative study is a textual study so no specific requirement for an outcome statement exists in qualitative reviews. A comparator is not required. 
PICo is a commonly used mnemonic in qualitative research. Other mnemonics that can be used are SPICE and SPIDER - see tables and examples below. 
 

Use the PICo worksheet below to assist in converting your PICo into an effective search strategy.

PICo

SPICE

SPICE can be used for both qualitative and quantitative studies. Within social sciences research SPICE may be more appropriate to formulate the research question.

   

  S    Setting (where) 

   P    Perspective (for whom)

   I     Intervention / Exposure / Interest (what)

   C   Comparison (what else)

   E   Evaluation ((how well or what result)

 

            Spices by Roel

SPIDER

SPIDER which can be used for both qualitative and quantitative studies.

  S         Sample

   PI       Phenomenon of Interest 
                (behaviours,experiences and interventions)

   D        Design

   E        Evaluation

   R       Research Type 
              (qualitative, quantitative or mixed method)

    Spider by Edster

Qualtitative example for PICo

Here is an example of a clinical question that outlines the PICo components.

What are caregivers' experiences in providing home-based care to patients with HIV/AIDS in Africa?
 

P        caregivers providing home-based care to persons with HIV/AIDS

I       experiences

Co   Africa

How would you begin searching for this topic? See completed worksheet below.

Qualitative example for SPICE

Here is an example of a clinical question that outlines the SPICE components.

What are the coping skills of parents of children with autism undergoing behavioural therapy in schools

S   schools

P   parents of children with autism

I     behavioural therapy

C    none

E   coping skills, attitudes

How would you begin searching for this topic? 

Qualitative example for SPIDER

Here is an example of a clinical question that outlines the SPIDER components.

What are the experiences of women undergoing IVF treatment?

S     women

PI   IVF treatment

D     questionnaire or survey or interview

E    experiences or views or attitudes or feelings

R     qualitative or mixed method

How would you begin searching for this topic?