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Medicine: Evidence Based Practice

This guide is intended to assist students and researchers to find resources in Medicine

What is Evidence-Based Practice (EBP)

Evidence Based Practice is the integration of clinical expertise, patient values and the best available evidence into the decision making process for patient care. 
(Sackett, D.L., et al. (2000). Evidence-based medicine: How to practice and teach EBM (2nd ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone).

6S Hierarchy of Evidence

"When using this model to guide clinical decision making, begin your search at the highest possible layer in the 6S model" DiCenso, A,, Bayley, L., & Haynes, R.B. 2009. Accessing pre-appraised evidence‚Äč

Hierarchy of Studies adapted from Duke University Medical Center Library

Appraising the Evidence

"Critical appraisal is the process of carefully and systematically examining research to judge its trustworthiness, and its value and relevance in a particular context."


The following resources will help you:

  • Decide whether specific studies have been undertaken in a way that makes their findings reliable.
  • Make sense of the results.
  • Know what these results mean in the context of the decision that needs to be made.

Critically Appraising Evidence for Healthcare JBI eBook

Synthesizing Quantitative Evidence JBI eBook

Practice Guidelines

Practice Guideline Critical Appraisal Worksheet - Duke University

Systematic Reviews

Inclusion Criteria  McMaster University guide to inclusion criteria for systematic reviews.

Anatomy of a Systematic Review National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools (Canada)

CASP critical appraisal of Systematic Reviews

Systematic Review (of Therapy) worksheet  CEBM Toronto

Systematic Review Critical Appraisal   Duke University

Randomised Controlled Trials

CASP critical appraisal of RCTs


FRISBE for critical appraisal of therapy studies. Duke University

Therapy worksheet  CEBM Toronto

Therapy Critical Appraisal Worksheet  Duke University


Evidence-based Medicine: Answering questions of diagnosis  Clin Med Res 2004. 2(1):63-9. 

An introduction to critical appraisal of articles of diagnosis  J Am Osteopath Assoc 2007.107(8):304-9 

Diagnosis Critical Appraisal Worksheet  Duke University

Diagnosis worksheet  CEBM Toronto

Stats Calculator  CEBM Toronto

How to calculate Likelihood Ratios CEBM Toronto

Diagnostic Test Calculator  Alan Schwartz, University of Illinois, Chicago.

Synthesizing Evidence of Diagnostic Accuracy JBI eBook


Prognosis Critical Appraisal Worksheet  Duke University

Prognosis worksheet  CEBM University of Toronto


Harm worksheet  CEBM University of Toronto

Harm Critical Appraisal Worksheet  Duke University

Synthesizing Evidence of Risk JBI eBook

Differential Diagnosis

Differential Diagnosis Critical Appraisal Worksheet Duke University

Economic Evaluation

CASP critical appraisal of economic evaluations

Synthesizing Economic Evidence JBI eBook

Qualitative Studies

Qualitative Study Critical Appraisal Worksheet Duke University

Qualitative Research in Health Care A. Are the Results of the Study Valid? JAMA. 2000 Jul 19;284(3):357-362.

Qualitative Research in Health Care B. What Are the Results and How Do They Help Me Care for My Patients? JAMA. 2000 Jul 26;284(4):478-482.

Synthesizing Qualitative Evidence JBI eBook

Synthesizing Evidence from Narrative, Text and Opinion JBI eBook

Quality Improvement

How to Use an Article About Quality Improvement. JAMA 2010;304 2279-2287


Appraise the evidence UWA Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Health Sciences

Apply the evidence UWA Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Health Sciences

Knowledge Translation in Healthcare JBI eBook

Public Engagement in Translating Knowledge to Action JBI eBook

Translation Science and the JBI Model of Evidence Based Healthcare JBI eBook

How to find conference proceedings/posters/papers?

When searching for conference proceedings try a search using the complete conference title, or a few keywords with the location and year of the conference. You can also search for a specific conference paper if you have its title or author's name. 

Most library databases provide the facility to limit by Publication or Document Type, which will allow you to narrow your search to conference papers or proceedings. Look for document types such as Conference Paper, Conference Proceeding, Conference Abstract, Meeting Abstract etc.

Searching the Library databases:

Many library databases index published conference papers and proceedings. Some key multidisclipinary databases that index conference papers/proceedings are listed below:

Other sources:

Many conference proceedings are not indexed in the Library catalogue or databases, but may be freely available, and can be found through a search on Google Scholar. 

Unpublished conference papers or proceedings are more difficult to track down. Often the title, author and abstract will be listed in a 'Book of abstracts' included as a supplement of a journal issue, but these don't point you to the full text.

Unpublished papers from a conference may be made freely available on the website of the host organisation, or distributed to attendees only. Some authors make their work available on their own website or via their institution's repository, or you may need to contact the author to request a copy of their paper.

Search tools for finding international grey literature

“There are many definitions of grey literature, but it is usually taken to mean literature that is not formally published in sources such as books or journal articles.” Cochrane Handbook -  Grey literature databases.

Formats include:

  • Registered Controlled Trial Registers
  • Technical or research reports from government agencies
  • Reports from scientific research groups
  • Working papers from research groups or committees
  • Doctoral (PhD) dissertations
  • Some conference proceedings and official publications
  • Preprints (journal articles not yet peer-reviewed and/or published)

Trial registries