Finding the evidence: a how-to guide
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:
- Identify terms to fit your PICO question
- Look for secondary sources
- 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
- Guidelines: UK National Library for Health, NICE, SIGN; US National Guidelines Clearinghouse; Canadian Medical Association; New Zealand Guidelines Group.
- CATs: CAT Crawler
- Evidence-Based Summaries: Bandolier, Clinical Evidence
- Structured Abstracts: EBM Online, ACP Journal Club
- Systematic Reviews: Cochrane Library
- To search several of the databases simultaneously you can use: www.tripdatabase.com
3 - Turning your search strategy into results: searching PubMed
Use methodological filters to target the right type of study. For instance, PubMED filters for: