Time to re-evaluate how we teach information literacy: Applying PICO in library instruction
- Students do not know where to begin and end a research question, a database search, or a research paper. So asserts the 2010 Project Information Literacy (PIL) study, which emphasizes the need for academic librarians to teach students to formulate research questions "over teaching the selection of resources."
- In 1995, the anatomy of a clinical question was described as having components mirroring the research process: patient or problem (P), intervention (I), comparison intervention (C), and outcome (O).2 The PICO movement was born, an acronym that health sciences librarians have used successfully for many years to guide students as they begin their research.
- PICO skillfully serves three vital purposes that help students get started. First, the elements of the research question are penned in a structured manner.
- Second, PICO logically provides the beginnings of a focused search.
- Third, it demands librarians alter their typical approach and spend time on question development before jumping into the depths of resources and searching.