Once you've formulated your research question, use keywords from your question to build a search string. Enter these terms into the databases. For example: "hand sanitizers" AND infection
Remember that one of the easiest ways to find evidence-based practice research is to look for systematic reviews or meta-analysis articles which find, evaluate and summarize several research studies in one article. Follow the steps in the box below to incorporate this into your search.
Also look at the Sample Search Box in the middle of the page below.
For more help on Evidence-Based Practice principles, check out the box Documents Useful for EBP further down on this guide.
Some basic tips to remember:
Evidence-Based Practice (or Evidence-Based Nursing, or Evidence-Based Medicine) is "the integration of the following:
patient's values, preferences, concerns, and rights."*
Click the links below for more detailed information and helpful examples:
The Evidence-Based Practice Tutorial for Nurses from University of Minnesota gives details and examples for each component of PICO.
This is a sample search in the CINAHL Database. In this example we:
This is an image of the Research Pyramid which displays less rigorous types of research at the bottom and the strongest at the top.
Systematic Reviews find, evaluate, and summarize several research studies in one article. They are often considered the strongest type of research you can find because each study included adds support to the findings.
Image taken from Loyola University Chicago - Health Sciences Library - Stritch School of Medicine
Step 1: Convert the need for information into an answerable question (using PICO - see the "What is PICO?" box to the right)
Step 2: Find the best evidence (from Systematic Reviews) to answer that question (using Library and public domain databases from the web)
Tip: Systematic Reviews are articles that find, evaluate, and summarize several
research studies in one article.
Step 3: Critically appraise the evidence for its validity, impact, and applicability
Step 4: Integrate the evidence with your clinical expertise and the patient's unique biology, values and circumstances
Step 5: Evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the process
A well-built clinical question helps you begin searching for evidence-based answers. Good clinical questions can be built using the acronym PICO.
P - Patient, population or problem of interest
I - Intervention - therapy, diagnostic test, exposure, etc.
C - Comparison intervention (can be blank if no treatment is the comparison)
O - Outcome(s) of interest
For example, you may wish to answer, "What is the best way to prevent infection through hand-to-hand contact in the hospital - alcohol-based hand sanitizers or traditional hand washing?" "Best" is subjective - so restate your question in the PICO format to get a clinical answer.
Using PICO will help you translate your question from an initial broad topic or a specific individual patient's experience, to a concrete objective question that you can look to find clinical evidence to answer. Use words from your PICO question to build a search string. The search string is a list of words you will enter into the research databases to help you find articles.
Using the example above, our search string could be: "alcohol-based hand sanitizers" AND "hand washing" AND infection AND "systematic review"
The Centre for Evidence Based Medicine has tips and practice examples for formulating research questions.
A list of other Evidence-Based Modules and Tutorials.