The Structure of Research Questions in Randomized Controlled Trials in the Rehabilitation Field: A Methodological Study

Chiara Arienti, Stefano G. Lazzarini, Michele Patrini, Livia Puljak, Alex Pollock, Stefano Negrini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective The aim of this study is to assess whether and how the PICO (Population, Intervention, Comparator, and Outcomes) format is described to frame research questions in randomized controlled trials looking at effectiveness of rehabilitation interventions. Design A methodological study was conducted. Randomized controlled trials in the rehabilitation field, published between July 1, 2019, and December 31, 2019, were included. The framing of the primary research question from each trial was evaluated. Results A total of 97 randomized controlled trials were included in the analysis. The most frequent framing of the primary research question was as an "objective"statement (55%), and in 33% of the articles, this was stated as an "objective"together with a "hypothesis"description. All PICO elements were present in 55% of research questions, but only 49% have used the statement suggested by Cochrane. Conclusion The findings of this study suggest that a specific item about the "research question"and the rationale that drove the proposed design following the form suggested by Cochrane should be included in the RCT Rehabilitation Checklist.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-33
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Volume100
Issue number1
Early online dateOct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Framing Research Question
  • PICO Format
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation

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