Formulating a Focused Clinical Question

  • Kameshwar Prasad


It is important to articulate your need for information into a well-formulated clinical question. The question serves as a starting point for literature search and hence must have a degree of focus that strikes a balance between getting too many ‘irrelevant’ articles and ‘not getting any article at all’. Experts often distinguish between ‘focused’ questions and ‘general’ questions. Focused questions specify the type of patients, intervention under consideration, comparison and outcome. General questions usually start with ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘how’. For example, what is ‘SARS’? What is the pathology of acute myocardial infarction? How do bacteria enter brain? Where does malaria occur? Some authors like the term ‘background’ questions for general questions (and hence foreground for focused questions). These terms mysticise, and hence, I do not favour them.


Brain Tumour Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Mobile Phone Acute Myocardial Infarction Clinical Question 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer India 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kameshwar Prasad
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurology Neurosciences Centre, and Clinical Epidemiology UnitAll India Institute of Medical SciencesNew Delhi DelhiIndia

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