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Step 1. Ask a Searchable Question

Our work, our practices, our teams are driven by questions. It's often the case that these questions start out as ideas that need to be refined in order for them to yield meaningful answers.


In this section, you'll:
  • Recognize the value of asking a searchable question
  • Identify common types of questions (background/foreground)
  • Describe different frameworks that help to identify key concepts within your research topic
  • Construct a searchable question using a standard framework (e.g. PICO, SPICE, SPIDER)

Constructing your question

Now that you've had a chance to review some of the elements of well-formulated question, it's time to see how it all comes together:


Practice Scenario 


You have an otherwise healthy patient who is, unexpectedly, 10 weeks pregnant. She is concerned that having not taken prenatal vitamins, specifically folic acid, there will be an increased risk of neural tube defects. You want to review the most recent evidence before you give her an opinion. 

Based on this scenario, there might be some initial background questions that you need to investigate:


Once we've done a bit of background research, we likely have a better sense of our main question. To help refine what we'd like to know, we'll use the PICO framework to identify some key concepts. 





Healthy women,
10 Wk Post-conception

Supplemental folic acid


Neural tube defects
Give it a Try!

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Contact us here if you need help constructing your research question. 


Now that you have your question, you are ready to move on to Step 2. There we'll look at the breadth of evidence sources available to search and how to match your question to a likely evidence source.