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BHSc Library Research Guide

Explore library resources for the Bachelor of Health Sciences Program at McMaster

The Research Question

Research questions help you to stay focused on your research goal. Your research question should be specific, measurable, and realistic. Write a research question by identifying your question's key concepts .

You can use the PICO(T)  or PS model, or any other model that is more appropriate for the nature of your research.

The PS Model: Qualitative Research

Qualitative Questions aim to discover meaning or gain an understanding of a phenomena.  

They ask about an individual's or population's experience of certain situations or circumstances.

The PS model is helpful for developing a strong qualitative research question:

P - Patient/Population

S- Situation

How do/does ___[P]____ experience _____[S]_____?

Ex. How do caregiver-spouses of Alzheimer patients experience placing their spouse in a nursing home?

PICO(T): Quantitative Research

Quantitative Questions aim to discover cause and effect relationships by comparing two or more individuals or groups based on differing outcomes associated with exposures or interventions, 

A quantitative approach can be formatted using the PICO(T) Model:


PICO question framework

Ex. In emergency room visitors, do hand sanitizing stations result in fewer in-hospital infections when compared with no hand sanitizing stations over a year-long pilot period?

What Have You Learned?