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Applied Psychology: 2) Craft your search

This guide organizes the most important resources for students in Steinhardt's Applied Psychology programs.

The PICO Framework

Evidence-based models will often suggest PICO as a process for framing a question and crafting search strategies. The elements of PICO include: 

(Problem or Patient or Population)



(outcome of interest)

(study design)

Here's an example of a question converted into the PICO framework:

Q:   How effective are after-school programs for teenagers?

P Teenagers
I After-school programs
C No after-school programs; other programs (mentoring, tutoring)
O Unspecified but some possibilities: academic achievement, career development
S "effective", randomized experiments

For more information on the PICO framework, including examples and a worksheet template go to


5 Steps to an Effective Search Strategy

And I Quote!

Use Quotation Marks to narrow your search or combine search terms that are more than single worlds.

This shows the search engines & databases that you want the terms to be found together.

In 2018 a Google search for domestic violence yielded 606 million results.

In 2018 a Google search for "domestic violence" yielded 72.5 million results.