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KINE 301

Keywords & PICO

For your assignments, you will be coming up with PICO research questions.

Using PICO can not only help you come up with good research questions, but you can also think of PICO to help you identify the keywords in your research question. 

Use the table below to remind yourself of the meaning of PICO. 





Patient Intervention Compare Outcome
Think about how you would describe the patient group. Think about age, sex, or specific characteristics. What is the main intervention, management strategy, or diagnostic test that you are interested in? Is there an alternative strategy or intervention you could use as a comparison group? What are the hoped for outcomes or effects of the intervention? 

PICO Research Question Example
Sample question: How does the use of exercise compare to medication in reducing anxiety in elderly women?

elderly women exercise medication reducing anxiety

PICO and Keywords

Once you've identified the PICO elements in your question, you can start creating a list of synonyms you could use for searching.

  P I C O
Keywords elderly women exercise medication reducing anxiety
Synonyms & alternative words older women physical activity, physical exertion, active lifestyle, walking, hiking, moderate intensity exercise, strength training, yoga Benzodiazepines treatment of anxiety, anxiety treatment, anxiety, management of anxiety


In this video, you will learn:

  • how keyword searching in a library database works
  • how to identify keywords in a research question
  • how to brainstorm additional keywords before searching in a library database