Wednesday, September 7, 2022

The 5 As of Evidence-Based Practice: Acquire (Part 3)

Guest post by Gabriel Merckx, MLIS*

Welcome back to Ascension Wisconsin Library Services’ series on Evidence Based Practice! This is the third article in the series. See the whole 5-part series: The 5As of Evidence-based Practice.

If you’ve made it to this step, you’ve already formed a question using PICO. After that, it’s time to start searching for articles. Let’s look at our example question from last time.

  • Does taking rizatriptan lower migraine rates in middle aged women more than over the counter remedies?

Now, plugging this question as it is into Google won’t get all the evidence you'd need to answer the question.  So, today, we’re going to talk about how to break that question down into search terms that can be used in our databases, such as PubMed or CINAHL

The first thing to do is decide what parts of the question are essential to the search. Not every part of the question needs to be a part of the initial search, but what does need to be included is the topic of the question and at least one other element of the question. PICO itself is an amazing way to stay on target, because PICO-formed questions break the question down into easily searched and essential parts.

The topic we’re trying to study is migraines, so that will be part of the search.

Another part could be rizatriptan, since that’s the treatment.

So where would you plug these search terms in?

In PubMed, using Boolean phrases (detailed in picture below) can be particularly helpful. In this instance, I would type in “rizatriptan” AND “migraines”.

  • Putting the words in quotations makes sure the database looks for that exact word or phrase.

  • Using ‘AND’ only looks for articles that contain both rizatriptan AND migraines

Filters or Limiters can help limit the amount of information or hits a search gets. In PubMed and CINAHL, these are found on the left-hand side. Limiters/ filters can include:

  • Language

  • Human Studies 

  • Year Published (Try to limit the search to the last five or ten years)

  • Systematic Reviews or Meta-Analysis

Another popular tool is PubMed Clinical Queries, which uses predefined filters to help you quickly refine PubMed searches on clinical or disease-specific topics to pull up clinical trials, which are considered higher quality evidence. Give it a try!

Need help with your search, but don’t have time to stop in?  Our EBP LibGuide can give you more search tips on the go.

> See the whole 5-part series: The 5As of Evidence-based Practice

Have questions that you need answered sooner? Ask your Ascension Wisconsin Medical Librarians:

* Gabriel Merckx was a practicum student at the Mercy Library in the summer of 2019 when he wrote this series.

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