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Evidence-Based Practice in Health

This guide includes a tutorial about Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) in Health, a Reference Shelf of supporting eBooks, and a Toolkit of online sources of evidence.

The Search Strategy

In Module 1, we learned how to construct a well-built clinical question.  Module 2 begins by looking at how to convert a well-built clinical question into a strong search strategy for your literature search.

Example question from Module 1: In patients with osteoarthritis of the knee is hydrotherapy more effective than traditional physiotherapy in relieving pain?

Constructing a well-built clinical question will lead directly to a well-built search strategy.  Note that you may not use all the information in PICO or well-built clinical question in your search strategy, and in fact, it can often be more effective NOT to address all of the PICO elements.

Also, some databases include a "Clinical Queries" field that allows you to select the study type.  In the following example we did not include the word therapy.  Instead we used the Clinical Query for Therapy for the publication type, randomised controlled trial, to get at the concept of treatment.

PICO Clinical Question Search Terms / Strategy
Patient, Population (or Problem) Knee osteoarthritis knee, osteoarthritis
Intervention hydrotherapy hydrotherapy, water therapy, whirlpool baths, aquatherapy
Comparison or Control (optional) traditional physiotherapy phsyiotherapy, physical therapy
Outcome relief of pain pain
Type of Question Therapy Clinical Query – Therapy/narrow
Limit to randomised controlled trial as document type

Type of Study

RCT Clinical Query – Therapy/narrow
Limit to randomised controlled trial as document type