You Ask #PEDroAnswers

Enhance your searching skills by participating in the You Ask #PEDroAnswers campaign in 2021:

  1. About the campaign
  2. Short videos illustrating how to use the PEDro Advanced Search
  3. Tips on how to use the PEDro Advanced Search
  4. Submit a question

1. About the campaign

Portuguese and French versions of the launch video

Portuguese version

French version

An essential element of evidence-based practice is searching to find the best high-quality research to answer your clinical questions.

Despite the importance of searching, just one in three physiotherapists perform a database search each month.

Skill is an obstacle to searching. We think physiotherapists would do more searching if they could increase their competency and efficiency.

With PEDro providing easy access to over 49,000 articles evaluating the effects of physiotherapy interventions, it is time for this to change.

The You Ask #PEDroAnswers campaign is designed to encourage physiotherapists to develop their searching skills and perform more database searching to find high-quality research to inform practice. In this campaign we will help you to improve your searching skills using the PEDro Advanced Search.

We invite the global physiotherapy community to submit clinical questions using a contact form at the bottom of this page, by tagging us with your question in a Tweet or through Facebook by posting your question as a comment on a You Ask #PEDroAnswers post or sending us your question via Messenger. Remember to include all the PICO elements in your question. That is, the Patient, Intervention, Comparator and Outcome.

Each month in 2021 we will share short videos illustrating how to use the PEDro Advanced Search to find the best research to answer these clinical questions. The videos will focus on searching for high-quality research using PEDro, they will not be providing recommendations for treatment. You can submit your questions in any language but, at least initially, the videos illustrating PEDro searching will be in English.

Throughout 2021 we will also be sharing some tips on how to use the PEDro Advanced Search.

This campaign is supported by World Physiotherapy, the Australian Physiotherapy Association, the Asociación Española de Fisioterapeutas, Physio Deutschland, the Società Italiana Fisioterapia and the Société Française de Physiothérapie.

Please join us on the You Ask #PEDroAnswers campaign in 2021 to develop your searching skills.


2. Short videos illustrating how to use the PEDro Advanced Searchn

Video 01: In older people living at home, does telephone motivational interviewing with a physiotherapist increase physical activity compared to providing written advice?

English version

Portuguese version

French version

Video 02: In stroke survivors, does mirror therapy improve upper limb function more than usual care?

English version

Portuguese version

French version


3. Tips on how to use the PEDro Advanced Search

TIP 1: ask a PICO question before you search

As a clinician, you perform diagnostic tests, provide information on prognosis, and implement interventions on a daily basis. You may want to find out if the diagnostic test (or combination of tests) you are using is the best available considering your facilities and resources. You may want to discover the course of recovery for a condition you don’t see very often. You may also like to know if you are offering an intervention that is supported by the results of high-quality research. To do these you need to pose a clinical question.

In order to answer your clinical question, it is helpful to break it down into four essential components using the ‘PICO’ framework. In this memory aid, P stands for patient, I stands for intervention, C stands for comparison, and O stands for outcome. Taking the time to clearly define the question will help you work out the best search terms to use, which in turn will make finding the best research to answer your question less daunting or time-consuming.

For questions about the effects of interventions, your PICO question should include all four elements:
P (patient): what is the condition or population group of interest, are you interested in a particular subgroup (eg, acute stroke) or sociodemographic group (eg, workers)? Are you working with older people, children, athletes, people that have had a traumatic brain injury or stroke?
I (the intervention): what treatment are you interested in?
C (the comparison): are you interested in comparing your intervention to placebo, usual care, or another intervention (eg, aquatic versus land-based exercise)?
O (the outcome): what measurable outcome(s) are you interested in improving? Is the outcome important to patients? Outcomes could be events (eg, falls), symptoms (eg, pain), functional measures (eg, walking speed) and quality of life. Harmful effects and the cost of treatment are also important outcomes to consider.

An example of a PICO question about the effects of an intervention is: “In people with Parkinson’s disease, does training using visual or auditory cues reduce the risk of having a fall compared to usual care?”

PICO can also be used to frame diagnostic questions, but here “I” takes on a new meaning:
P (patient).
I (the “issue”): this could be a diagnostic test, a combination of physical tests, or a clinical prediction rule.
C (the comparison): what do you want to compare your diagnostic test to? This could be a reference test or the gold standard test.
O (for outcome): this is usually a measure of the test utility like specificity or sensitivity. This gives you an idea of both the rate of false positives (diagnosing the condition in those that do not have it) and false negatives (missing the diagnosis in those that do).

An example of a PICO question about a diagnostic test is: “In female soccer players with knee injuries, what is the accuracy of the anterior draw test compared to medical resonance imaging for detecting an anterior cruciate ligament injury?”

Elements of PICO can help you ask questions about the prognosis of a condition. With prognostic questions “I” takes on a new meaning and the “C” is dropped:
P (patient): when specifying this element it is useful to include the duration or severity.
I (for “time”): over what time span are you interested in, the short- or long-term?
O (for outcome): these should be both quantifiable and important to patient’s goals and priorities. Examples include the rate of disease progression or a positive outcome (eg, return to work or sport).

An example of a PIO question about prognosis is: “For people with an episode of back pain resulting in 4 weeks off work, what is the likelihood that they return to work in their previous role at 6 months?”

We’ve just revised the PEDro video tutorial on posing clinical questions about interventions.

TIP 2: don’t enter search terms for each element of the PICO question

Asking a PICO question gives you four options to choose from when selecting search terms, one potential search term for each PICO element. But you don’t need to enter terms for all four PICO elements when you perform your search. Usually just one or two are enough. A good starting point is to enter terms for the patient and intervention elements of your question.

The first search video for the “You Ask #PEDroAnswers” campaign illustrated how using terms for the patient and intervention can quickly identify relevant research. The question was: “in older people living at home, does telephone motivational interviewing with a physiotherapist increase physical activity compared to providing written advice?” The Search terms used were ‘gerontology’ in the Subdiscipline field for the patient and ‘motivational interview*’ in the Abstract & Title field for the intervention.

The best PICO elements to use to generate search terms will vary for different questions. Before you start your search think, which of the PICO elements will inevitably and uniquely be associated with the articles that I wish to find? Enter terms for those elements in your PEDro search.


4. Submit a question

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