Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Formulate a Clinical Question

Recognise and formulate clinical questions as they occur

A practitioner taking notes

After some practice, you should be able to recognise key clinical questions readily and build them well to help you find the answers. Pay careful attention to the questions that occur to you spontaneously.

If you are stuck

  • Try saying your questions out loud or writing them down with all four components included.
  • Try asking yourself what type of question you are trying to ask (i.e. therapy). From there, fill in all four components explicitly, such as: "do people with insulin-dependent diabetes who are treated with an intensive insulin regimen have fewer long-term complications or a lower mortality rate than those treated with a traditional insulin regimen?”

If too many questions arise

For patients with more than one active problem, and with possible questions about diagnosis, prognosis and therapy for each problem, your questions may be too numerous to ask or answer.

In this predicament, it is still useful to build good questions, then select from the many the few questions that are most important to answer right away.