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BHSc Library Research Guide

BHSc Librarian

Denise Smith

The Research Question

Once you understand the background of your topic, the next step is to form your research question.

One way to write a research question is to identify your question's key concepts by using PICO(T)  or PS method.

Qualitative Research Questions: The PS Model

Qualitative Questions aim to discover meaning or gain an understanding of a phenomena.  

They ask about an individual's or population's experience of certain situations or circumstances.

The PS model is helpful for developing a strong qualitative research question:

P - Patient/Population

S- Situation

How do/does ___[P]____ experience _____[S]_____?

Ex. How do caregiver-spouses of Alzheimer patients experience placing their spouse in a nursing home?

Quantitative Research Questions: PICO(T)

Quantitative Questions aim to discover cause and effect relationships by comparing two or more individuals or groups based on differing outcomes associated with exposures or interventions, 

A quantitative approach can be formatted using the PICO(T) Model:


Ex. In emergency room visitors, do hand sanitizing stations result in fewer in-hospital infections when compared with no hand sanitizing stations over a year-long pilot period?

What Have You Learned?