Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Community & Oral Health Library: Finding Evidence & PICO

Library services provided to the diverse, interdisciplinary health service teams operating within this Directorate across Brisbane, Metro North.

Where to Search

Consult the Qld Health Evidence Pyramid below - the best evidence based sources are at the top. Start there and work your way down as required:

QH Evidence Pyramid


DynaMed Plus | BMJ Best Practice | First ConsultCochrane

PEDdro | OTSeeker | SpeechBITE | PsycBITE | TRIP

Embase | CINAHL | Medline | PsycINFO | Austhealth


The Links above are a range of resources for sourcing evidence based information, and assistance with formulating questions.

Systematic Review: Asking a Question

A systematic review is based on a pre-defined specific research question (Cochrane Handbook, 1.2.2). Well-formulated questions will guide many aspects of the review process, including determining eligibility criteria, searching for studies, collecting data from included studies, and presenting findings (Cochrane Handbook, 5.1.1).

The research question should be clear and focused - not too vague, too specific or too broad.

QH Staff can use the TRIP PICO template and the Embase PICO template

You may like to consider some of the techniques mentioned below to help you with this process. They can be useful but are not necessary for a good search strategy.

PICO - to search for quantitative review questions
Patient, Population Intervention (or Exposure) Comparison (or Control)
if appropriate
Most important characteristics of patient (e.g. age, disease/condition, gender) Main intervention (e.g. drug treatment, diagnostic/screening test) Main alternative (e.g. placebo, standard therapy, no treatment, gold standard) What you are trying to accomplish, measure, improve, affect (e.g. reduced mortality or morbidity, improved memory)

Richardson, WS, Wilson, MC, Nishikawa, J & Hayward, RS 1995, 'The well-built clinical question: A key to evidence-based decisions', ACP Journal Club, vol. 123, no. 3, pp. A12-A12.

A variant of PICO is PICOS. S stands for Study designs. It establishes which study designs are appropriate for answering the question, e.g. randomised controlled trial (RCT).

SPIDER - to search for qualitative and mixed methods research studies
Sample Phenomenon of Interest Design Evaluation Research type

Cooke, A, Smith, D & Booth, A 2012, 'Beyond pico the spider tool for qualitative evidence synthesis', Qualitative Health Research, vol. 22, no. 10, pp. 1435-1443.

SPICE - to search for qualitative evidence
Setting (where?) Perspecitve (for whom?) Intervention (what?) Comparison (compared with what?) Evaluation (with what result?)

Cleyle, S & Booth, A 2006, 'Clear and present questions: Formulating questions for evidence based practice', Library hi tech, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 355-368.

ECLIPSE - to search for health policy/management information
E C L I P Se
Expectation (improvement or information or innovation) Client group (at whom the service is aimed) Location (where is the service located?) Impact (outcomes) Professionals (who is involved in providing/improving the service) Service (for which service are you looking for information)

Wildridge, V & Bell, L 2002, 'How clip became eclipse: A mnemonic to assist in searching for health policy/management information', Health Information & Libraries Journal, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 113-115.


© The State of Queensland (Queensland Health) 1996-2018