"IF I HAD AN HOUR TO SOLVE A PROBLEM AND MY LIFE DEPENDED ON IT.
I WOULD USE THE FIRST 55 MINUTES DETERMINING THE PROPER QUESTIONS TO ASK."
Before you begin searching for information it's important to know what you're looking for.
What makes a question answerable?
An answerable question is formed with your literature search in mind. It contains the "key concepts" that you can use to build your search.
A patient scenario, situation or story, may include several questions, which should be formed separately as each will include different key concepts and lead to a different search. You will also need to look for different types of information to answer different questions, and you may need to look in different places.
A research topic may also include several questions, which should be formed separately as each will include different key concepts and lead to a different search.
There are two types of questions:
Use PICO or PICOT to define your foreground question (see below for more information about PICO and why it's useful):
P = Patient/Population (the person or group you are working with)
I = Intervention (this can be a treatment, test, or something else you plan to use with your patient)
C = Comparison (this can be left blank if you aren't comparing two interventions)
O = Outcome (what you would like to achieve)
(T) = Time factors (does it matter when the treatment or test is given?)
Stillwell, S. B., Fineout-Overholt, E., Melnyk, B. M., & Williamson, K. M. (2010). Evidence-Based Practice, Step by Step: Asking the Clinical Question: A Key Step in Evidence-Based Practice. AJN, American Journal of Nursing, 110(3), 58-61.