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Evidence Based Practice

Designed to familiarize health science students with concepts and strategies used in EBP. Includes levels of evidence, question formulation (PICO), and information sources for evidence.

Ask the question

Take the time to carefully develop your question at the beginning. The words you use in your question can be directly used in your search strategy. To construct a well-built clinical question, consider the four parts of a good 'PICO' question:

P= Patient Problem:
How would you describe a group of patients similar to yours? What are the most important characteristics of the patient? This may include the primary problem, disease, or co-existing conditions. Sometimes the gender, age or race of a patient might be relevant to the diagnosis or treatment of a disease.

I= Intervention, prognostic factor or exposure:
Which main intervention, prognostic factor, or exposure are you considering? What do you want to do for the patient? Try a different treatment or use a diagnostic test? OR -- What factor may influence the prognosis of the patient - age, co-existing problems, or previous exposure? 

C= Comparison:
What is the main alternative to compare with the intervention? Are you trying to decide between two drugs; a drug and no medication or placebo; or two diagnostic tests? Your clinical question may not always have a specific comparison.

O= Outcome:
What can you hope to accomplish, measure, improve or affect? What are you trying to do for the patient? Relieve or eliminate the symptoms? Reduce the number of adverse events? Improve function or test scores?

Finding the evidence 1: Using PICO to formulate a search question

Finding the evidence 2: Turning search terms into a search strategy

Finding the evidence 3: Turning your search strategy into results: PubMed Demonstration

Evidence-Based Practice: Nursing

Practice questions

Test your ability to develop a PICO question using some of the scenarios posed on this web page developed by librarians at the UNC Health Sciences Library.

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