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Nursing Science and Research: PICOT Search Statements

PICOT Elements

 

Research Question: Is the use of soap and water or alcohol-based rubs more effective in preventing hospital infections?

 

Patient Intervention Comparison Outcome Time
Term/Synonyms

Hospital Patients

In-patient

Soap and Water

Hand Washing

Alcohol rubs Infection Prevention Hospital duration
Subject Headings

Hand Disinfection

Hand Hygiene

Hand Sanitizers

Cross Infection

Nosocomial Infection

Length of Stay

 

All searches are a balance between choosing enough terms to be specific, but still give you helpful results

Combine terms with:

OR - for synonyms; words in the same column

AND - for different elements; words in different columns

(---) - to group words together

 

General Rules:

  • Always include terms for your Outcome, since you have to know what is being measured!
  • Use terms for BOTH your Intervention and Comparison for a very specific result (less articles), use only one for a broader result (more articles)
  • Don’t repeat terms unless you absolutely must!  (see how I use the words patient and hand below)

Specific/Narrow Search Statement:

(In-patient OR Hospital) AND (Hand washing OR Disinfection) AND (Alcohol OR Sanitizer) AND Infection

Broader Search Statement:

hospital AND Hand Washing AND Infection AND Length of Stay

In-Patient AND Alcohol rub AND Infection

PICO(T) Questions Template