Clinical questions may be classified as background or foreground. The type of question determines where you look for answers.
Background questions ask for general information about a topic, such as what is the condition, what causes it , who is at most risk, how it presents, and how it is generally diagnosed and managed.
Foreground questions are related to a specific patient, such as the most effective way to diagnosis or treat a condition in a patient with certain characteristics.
In a clinical setting your information needs will be largely determined by the care of your patient or client.
Your time will be limited and you will need to find the right answers quickly to your clinical questions.
It will be important to communicate effectively with your patient to ensure they are informed about their care. Quality health information for the layperson is readily available.
This page provides convenient access to quality information relevant to the clinician.
To answer clinical questions, start searching resources that are appraised and summarised (at the top) and work your way down until you find an answer.
Generally the most recent studies will be found in databases (at the bottom), such as in PubMed, as the synthesising, appraising and summarising takes time.
**Not held by Monash University Library. Available at selected affiliated hospitals.
Source: Dr Dragan Ilic, adapted from DiCenso, A, Bayley, L & Haynes, RB 2009, 'Accessing preappraised evidence: fine-tuning the 5S model into a 6S model', ACP Journal Club, vol. 151, no.6, pp. JC3-2-JC3-3.
For downloadable Word version of pyramid, see below: