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Nursing: Evidence-Based Practice

Guide to Nursing & Allied Health research.

Introduction to Evidence-Based Practice

EBP graphic illustration


"Evidence-based medicine (EBM) or Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) is the process of systematically reviewing, appraising, and using clinical research findings to support the delivery of clinical care to patients."  Or, stated more simply...

"Evidence-based medicine is the integration of best research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values." 

For more information including downloadable PDFs, visit the following links:

(Rosenberg W, Donald A. "Evidence based medicine: an approach to clinical problem-solving." BMJ 1995; 310:1122–1126.)

(Sackett D et al. Evidence-Based Medicine: How to Practice and Teach EBM, 2nd edition. Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh, 2000, p.1)

Systematic Reviews

PICO and Evidence-Based Practice

The first step in research or evidence-based practice is defining a problem and asking a question. In the research process this becomes part of developing a proposal for a study. In the clinical setting, ‘asking a question’ may become part of a research study, a quality improvement project, or lead to evidence based practice.

A commonly used format for creating a clinical question is known as PICO which refers to:

P    Patient population of interest
I      Intervention/issue of interest
C    Comparison of interest
O    Outcome of interest

(American Nurses Association, Nursing World, "Asking the Question".)

Evidence-Based Databases

CINAHL®Complete is the world’s most comprehensive source of full-text for nursing & allied health journals. This authoritative file contains full text for many of the most used journals in the CINAHL index, with no embargo. CINAHL®Complete is the definitive research tool for all areas of nursing & allied health literature.

Full text of more than 1350 journals
Contains more than 4.1 million records dating back to 1937
CINAHL Headings index with scope notes, major headings search, and subcategories search
Evidence-based Care Sheets
Quick Lessons CE Modules
Graphs, charts, diagrams
Cited references
Evidence based, peer-reviewed, and other search limits are available in advanced searching

MEDLINE, created by the National Library of Medicine, provides medical information on medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, pre-clinical sciences, and much more.

Indexes citations from over 5,400 current biomedical journals
Contains more than 24 references to records dating back to 1946
MeSH index with scope notes, major headings search, and subcategories search
Search limiters include Evidence-based Medicine Reviews, various types of Clinical Queries, and Publication Types in advanced searching.

*MEDLINE is also available via the ProQuest database platform.

The link above will take you immediately to Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. To choose one of the other Cochrane databases below or add them all in a combined search go to "Choose Databases" on the EBSCO search form.

*Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials – a bibliography of controlled trials.
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews – contains full-text articles and protocols focusing on the effects of healthcare.
Cochrane Methodology Register – a bibliography of publications which report on methods used in the conduct of controlled trials.

Cochrane Clinical Answers (CCAs) – provide a readable, digestible, clinically focused entry point to rigorous research from Cochrane systematic reviews.

Nursing & Allied Health Source™ provides users with reliable healthcare information covering nursing, allied health, alternative and complementary medicine, and much more. This database is designed to meet the needs of researchers at healthcare facilities as well as nursing and allied health programs at academic institutions.

Abstracting and indexing for more than 850 titles
More than 715 titles are full-text
More than 12,000 full text dissertations in nursing and related fields
Contains more than 4.1 million records dating back to 1937
MeSH and ProQuest Thesauri
Graphs, illustrations, photographs and tables
Evidence based healthcare, case study, peer-reviewed, and other search limits are available in advanced searching.

This link provides MU Full-text Link capabilities to our users. MU Full-Text links to items Marshall University Libraries has available.

Database Research Tips

Research Tips: 

When using EBSCO's CINAHL Complete database, you can limit your results before you search by going to the Advanced Search page and checking the box next to evidence-based practice in the Limiters section.  (You can also do this after the search by using Limit To tools in the Refine Results section in the left column of your results screen.)

When using ProQuest's Nursing & Allied Health Source database, you can limit your results in a similar manner by going to the Advanced Search page, scrolling down to the Document Type box in the Search Options section and selecting Evidence Based Healthcare.

When using MEDLINE (any platform), you have the option of limiting results to "publication," "document" or "article" type depending on the platform you are using.  In this way, you can choose to limit results to clinical trials, systematic reviews, case reports, comparative studies or meta-analysis, for example. PubMed Medline | EBSCO Host Medline | ProQuest Medline

Evidence-Based Internet Resources

Note:  Funding to support AHRQ's National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC) ended on July 16, 2018. As a result, the database is currently offline. See the website for more information and status updates.

Health Science Library Databases

UpToDate® is the premier evidence-based clinical decision support resource authored by physicians to help healthcare practitioners make the best decisions at the point of care.  NOTE:  This resource is accessible onsite only at the MU Health Science Library.

DynaMed Weekly Report


DynaMed Weekly Update DynaMed EBM Focus by EBSCO

DynaMed Weekly Update (now called DynaMed EBM Focus) is an evidence-based "clinical reference tool created by physicians for physicians and other health care professionals." The EBM Focus is compiled by the clinicians of the DynaMed Editorial Team who each week select one to five articles "most likely to change clinical practice." EBM Focus is free to e-mail subscribers. (Click subscribe to sign up.) You may also visit the Weekly Update & EBM Focus Archive