ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 283-286

Appearance of Population, Intervention, Comparison, and Outcome as research question in the title of articles of three different anesthesia journals: A pilot study


1 Department of Anesthesia, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2 College of Medicine and Research Center, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Abdelazeem Eldawlatly
College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/sja.SJA_767_17

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Background: It is well known in the evidence-based medicine practice that framing the research question is the most important and crucial part of the research integrity. Population, Intervention, Comparison, and Outcome (PICO) is a specialized framework used by most researchers to formulate a research question and to facilitate literature review. The aim of this study is to investigate the representation of the PICO frame in the title of published articles in three different anesthesia journals. Methods: We performed this double-blind, pilot study on papers published in three anesthesia journals, including Anesthesia and Intensive care (a), Saudi Journal of Anaesthesia (b), and Anesthesia Analgesia (c) from January 2016 to September 2017. We randomly selected 30 randomized controlled trials from each journal to check for the PICO frame in the title of each article. We used Chi-square test to compare the met variables in the three journals with respect to PICO frame. Met variables are those who met the PICO frame and not met are not. We assumed a statistically significant difference when P was <0.05. Results: Ninety randomized controlled trials articles (n = 90) were included in this study (n = 30 each journal A, B, and C). Corresponding estimates of the percent of papers that failed (not met) to adopt PICO elements were as follow for journal A, B, and C, respectively: Population: 30%, 30%, and 20%; Intervention: 50%, 30%, and 26.7%; Comparison: 53.3%, 60%, and 53.3%; and Outcome: 30%, 6.7%, and 0.0% with significant differences between journals A and C (P < 0.05). Conclusion: Researches adopting PICO elements usually receive higher citation percentages. There is a need to further investigate the PICO framework in a larger study to determine whether it can be well represented in the titles of different research designs. That, in turn, will help the precision of searches performed on a PICO-formatted screen to receive relevant citations.


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