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1 - Using PICO to formulate a search question. 2 - Turning search terms into a search strategy. 3 - Turning your search strategy into results (searching pubmed).

Finding the evidence is the second step in the five steps of evidence-based practice.

It is important when searching for evidence that search terms are referred back to your original PICO question. The process of finding evidence therefore follow three key steps:

  1. Identify terms to fit your PICO question
  2. Look for secondary sources
  3. Search for primary sources

See our Searching Exercise page for a guide on how to complete this process.

This tutorial is developed by Neal Thurley and Owen Coxall, who regularly tutor on CEBM courses.

1 - Using PICO to formulate a search question


View ‘Asking Clinical Questions’ – guide to constructing PICO questions

We recommend printing this copy of the search strategy to accompany Video 3 available from the Bodleian Library.

2 - Turning search terms into a search strategy

3 - Turning your search strategy into results: searching PubMed

Use methodological filters to target the right type of study. For instance, PubMED filters for:

  • therapy
  • diagnosis
  • prognosis
  • aetiology.