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PPE 501 Introduction to Research and Evaluation in Education

Overview of educational inquiry from controlled, quantitative to qualitative, naturalistic. Emphasizes locating and critically interpreting published research.

What is PICO?

P = Population, Problem, Process

The population doesn't need to be human. In engineering, it is most often a problem or process.

I = Intervention, Inquiry, Investigation, Improvement

Possible solution

C = Comparison

Current practice or opposing viewpoints

O = Outcomes

Measuring what worked best

Asking the Searchable Question

PICO Question | Physical Education

The hypothesis or problem statement is not searched completely as stated. Most searches will focus on the problem (P) and the Improvement (I). When a comparison of two ways of doing things (C) is needed, that part becomes the 3rd concept in your search strategy. The results or outcome is not part of the search strategy.

To get up to speed on your topic you need the "who, what, where, when, why or how" 

Background | Five Ws


Who or What          equals              Population, Problem or Process

How or Why            equals              Intervention, Investigation or Improvement

When                      equals              Special conditions

Example:   How can identifying the distance dominant eye improve shooting success?  (applies to skeet shooting, archery, basketball, hockey, golf, tennis, and other sports requiring aiming)

Ask broad topical question and read to:

  • build knowledge base.
  • identify trending facts, issues, cutting edge research
  • lay foundation for asking focused research question

Foreground | PICO

Example:   How is [P] aiming impacted when a player has a dominant distance eye for the opposite hand is [I] retrained to improve [O] shooting success?

Formulate research question using PICO to:

  • identify research elements related to topic
  • select keywords representing those elements
  • retrieve relevant research articles when PICO keywords appear in TI,AB

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