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Guide to SSU Nursing Research Resources

What is EBP?

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is an approach to health care wherein health professionals use the best evidence possible, i.e. the most appropriate information available, to make clinical decisions for individual patients....It involves complex and conscientious decision-making based not only on the available evidence but also on patient characteristics, situations, and preferences. It recognizes that health care is individualized and ever changing and involves uncertainties and probabilities. 

McKibbon KA. Evidence-based practice. Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1998 Jul;86(3):396-401.

EBP combines nursing expertise, patient preference, and peer-reviewed literature.

Develop a PICOT question

You should consider five elements when developing a good clinical research question:

Patient or Problem Intervention Comparison Intervention Outcome Time
Describe as accurately as possible the patient or group of patients of interest What is the main intervention or therapy you wish to consider? Is there an alternative treatment to compare? What is the clinical outcome? Time it takes to demonstrate a clinical outcome.

Find the Evidence - Library Subscription Databases

These are the best EBP Nursing research resources for literature reviews, systematic reviews, and evidence-based summaries available through SSU's subscription library databases:

Find the Evidence - Freely Available Websites

These are some of the most trusted EBP Nursing research resources for evidence-based summaries and guidelines available freely on the Internet:

Evaluate the Evidence

 Rating System for the Hierarchy of Evidence/Levels of Evidence

Level I
Evidence for a systematic review or meta-analysis of all relevant RCTs or evidence-based clinical practice guidelines based on systematic reviews of RCTs.

Level II
Evidence obtained from at least one well-designed RCT.

Level III

Evidence obtained from one well-designed controlled trials without Randomization.

Level IV
Evidence from well-designed case-control and cohort studies.

Level V
Evidence from systematic reviews of descriptive or qualitative study.

Level VI
Evidence from single descriptive or qualitative study.

Level VII

Evidence from the opinion of authorities and/or reports of expert committees.

* Table from Melnyk, Bernadette Mazurek and Ellen Fineout-Overholt. Evidence-based practice in nursing and healthcare. Philadelphia : Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2005:10.


Useful Definitions

A Literature Review is a scholarly analysis of a body of research about a specific issue or topic. (See Literature Reviews tab for more info.)

A Meta-Analysis is a statistical technique for combining the findings from independent studies to assess the clinical effectiveness of healthcare interventions.

A Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) is an experiment that delivers an intervention or treatment; subjects are randomly assigned to control and experimental groups, so it is the strongest design to support cause and effect relationships.

A Systematic Review is a comprehensive, unbiased review of multiple research studies that tries to identify, appraise, select, and synthesize all high quality research evidence relevant to that research question.

Database Tutorials

Other EBP Guides