Health Sciences: Evidence-based practice

Guide to resources for assessment tasks in health issues, health education and public health

What is evidence-based practice?

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is the process of making clinical decisions based upon research evidence, combined with clinical experience and patient preferences.

EBP is used in a variety of fields, including medicine, nursing and allied health.

Downloadable resources

Useful ebooks about EBP

Heneghan, C and Badenoch, D (2006) Evidence based medicine toolkit. 2nd ed. Oxford: BMJ books. Online acccess

Glasziou, P, Del Mar, C and Salisbury, J (2007) Evidence based medicine workbook: finding and applying the best research evidence to improve patient care. London: BMJ. Online access

Aveyard, H (2009) Evidence-based practice and healthcare: a beginner's guide. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill International. Online access

Key resources for evidence-based practice

Cochrane Library includes controlled trials, systematic reviews and economic evaluations. Access is free for all Australian residents.

Ovid Medline or free PubMed covers medicine, nursing, allied health and pre clinical sciences.

Best Practice contains current information on prevention, treatment, diagnosis and prognosis for specific conditions. Mobile device access.

ACP Journal Club via EBM Reviews (limit 5 simulataneous users) provides summaries of key studies and systematic reviews in internal medicine. Alternative access:

Browse  Annals of Internal Medicine Journal Club 

Search: the Annals website with ACP journal club to limit to those articles e.g. ACP journal club malignant melanoma

PubMed Clinical Queries filter search results by most appropriate study designs.

TRIP is a clinical search engine.

Clinical Practice Guidelines portal Australian clinical practice guidelines.

Maternity and infant care  Maternity and Infant Care is an important essential resource for academics and healthcare professionals involved in the care of women and infants. 

Levels of evidence

Certain types of evidence are considered more reliable than others. For example, a randomised controlled trial is considered stronger evidence than an individual case study. Cochrane systematic reviews are commonly considered the 'gold standard' for evidence.

See the hierarcy of evidence of study designs at the Duke University Medical Center Library website.

Applying the evidence

Critically evaluate the evidence you find, and use it to support your clinical decisions, taking into account your clinical experience and patient preferences. The Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, Oxford, has critical appraisal checklists.

Key texts: