The first stage of any evidence-based practice process is formulating an answerable question. This forms the foundation for quality searching. A well-formulated question will facilitate the search for evidence and will assist you in determining whether the evidence is relevant to your question.
The most commonly used framework for formatting questions is PICO. The acronym translates to:
|Population or Problem||
Other variables that can be added to this PICO framework are:
|Type of study
The PICo variation is useful for for qualitative studies
|Population or Problem||
Socially responsible investing (SRI), also known as social investment, is an investment that is considered socially responsible due to the nature of the business the company conducts. Common themes for socially responsible investments include socially conscious investing. Socially responsible investments can be made into individual companies with good social value, or through a socially conscious mutual fund or exchange-traded fund (ETF).
Socially responsible investments include eschewing investments in companies that produce or sell addictive substances (like alcohol, gambling, and tobacco) in favor of seeking out companies that are engaged in social justice, environmental sustainability, and alternative energy/clean technology efforts.
In recent history, “socially conscious” investing has been growing into a widely-followed practice, as there are dozens of new funds and pooled investment vehicles available for retail investors. Mutual funds and ETFs provide an added advantage in that investors can gain exposure to multiple companies across many sectors with a single investment. However, investors should read carefully through-fund prospectuses in order to determine the exact philosophies being employed by fund managers, along with the potential profitability of these investments.
There are two inherent goals of socially responsible investing: social impact and financial gain. The two do not necessarily have to go hand in hand; just because an investment touts itself as socially responsible doesn’t mean that it will provide investors with a good return, and the promise of a good return is far from an assurance that the nature of the company involved is socially conscious. An investor must still assess the financial outlook of the investment while trying to gauge its social value.
Government-controlled funds such as pension funds are often very large players in the investment field, and are being pressured by the citizenry and by activist groups to adopt investment policies which encourage ethical corporate behavior, respect the rights of workers, consider environmental concerns, and avoid violations of human rights.
Community investing, a subset of socially responsible investing, allows for investment directly into community-based organizations. Community investing institutions use investor capital to finance or guarantee loans to individuals and organizations that have historically been denied access to capital by traditional financial institutions. These loans are used for housing, small business creation, and education or personal development.
Negative screening excludes certain securities from investment consideration based on social or environmental criteria. For example, many socially responsible investors screen out tobacco company investments.
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