Identifying information (evidence) to inform your practice or research, requires search skills in order to:
The concept has evolved, and as this graphic suggests, the views, values and expectations of the patient now play an important role in the process.
To give it wider application, and include other health care professions, EBM is also referred to as evidence-based practice, and is not static - it is an iterative process. A good way to think of it is as a cycle (see below). Any investigation of evidence is likely to lead to further questions, and practice should be considered on a regular basis, to see if improvements or refinements can be made.
This guide touches on three stages of the cycle:
Various frameworks may help you to identify the key concepts of your search topic, and later establish the search terms you will use to find relevant literature. Two such frameworks are PICO (for quantitative research, or research involving an intervention) and PEO (for qualitative research).
PICO divides your topic into four concepts:
P: the Patient / Population /Problem you are interested in.
I: the Intervention you are examining
C: a Comparison you might want to use
O: Outcomes you are hoping to achieve, or avoid
PEO can be useful for qualitative studies, where the intervention is an exposure (usually to something harmful or risky), and there is no comparator:
P: Population, Patient or Problem
Once you have identified your key concepts (either two or more), then you can develop this further, to express the concepts using the expected terminology in the literature; i.e. determine several alternaitve search terms for each concept (synonyms and different word endings).