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A guide to research databases, websites, e-books, and other sources for physical education research.
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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  • Physical Education
    Some of the subjects students can expect to learn about include teaching team sports, human anatomy, teaching physical activity concepts, kinesiological foundations of movement, and adapted and inclusive physical education.

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PICO example

You are working with a third grade class with a high rate of obesity and many students at risk for type 2 diabetes. You want to incorporate regular exercise into their daily schedule but you need to be able to justify starting an after-school physical activity program to the school administration.

P = population (elementary school children at risk for developing type 2 diabetes)

I = Intervention (incorporating regular exercise into the daily schedule of the children)

C=Comparison (could be diet changes or medication)


This is a HOW question - you are looking for a solution to a problem.


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What is PICO?

P = Population, Problem, Process

The population doesn't need to be human

I = Intervention, Inquiry, Investigation, Improvement

Possible solution

C = Comparison

Current practice or opposing viewpoints

O = Outcomes

Measuring what worked best


The Role of the 5 Ws

Who, What, When, Where, Why (and How)


Researchers in most fields are looking for one of two things:

  • A cause for a problem (Why) or
  • a solution to a problem (How).

The Why or the How then becomes the I element of the PICO formula.


The P element of the PICO formula is typically the Who or the What


PICO Search Strategy

Using Physical Education Index, your search terms are:

P=(elementary students)



This yielded 9 articles.

Conducting the same search in Sport Discus yielded 1 article.

Using PubMed and the same search yielded 6 articles.

Modifying the search in PubMed with the following terms and filters got better results:

P=preventing diabetes


Age filter set to children (birth to 18 years)

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Ellen Welty
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Your Librarian

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Bee Gallegos
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My office is located in Fletcher Library 301C on the West campus. For research assistance call me at (602)543-8509 or email me Office hours are generally Monday-Thursday 7am-4pm & Friday 7-11am.
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Your Librarian

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Jenny Mueller-Alexander
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LOCATION: 38 CNTR Polytechnic campus
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480 965-3084
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