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Nurse Educator Resources: Search for Evidence to Support EBP

Use the Highest Quality Level of Evidence to Support Practice

Support your practice with resources of the highest level of evidence quality available.

Search FIRST for "secondary" resources which filter, appraise, summarize, and synthesize current best evidence!

Hint: For the clinical questions you will discuss in your class assignments and practicum logs, a systematic review, clinical practice guideline, or other filtered/synthesized resource is best when available.

Check out the Levels of Evidence Table here to find out about what the best kind of evidence is for different types of clinical questions.


Hierarchy of Evidence: The EBM Pyramid


Search Tip: Try searching using Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)

"MeSH is the National Library of Medicine's controlled vocabulary thesaurus. It consists of sets of terms naming descriptors in a hierarchical structure that permits searching at various levels of specificity."

Most of the databases discussed on this page of this guide offer Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) searching in addition to keyword searching.

Why is subject heading searching useful?

Relationships between concept headings are expressed in the hierarchical structure of the MeSH thesaurus. This allows searching related concepts with a single search. This type of searching is sometimes called "exploding" terms. So for example, searching and exploding the MeSH term Kidney Diseases retrieves databases records about ALL kidney diseases without requiring searches for each disease by name. The term Kidney Diseases and all of the terms below in the hiearchy are searched together.

Records are augmented with MeSH headings in many health sciences related databases, such as the Cochrane Database of Reviews. Many of these databases also have a search "builder" tool that can be used to help find relevant headings and construct/build a subject heading search on your topic.


Where to Search for Guidelines and Systematic Reviews

Search these databases for preappraised/synthesized/filtered resources!

Click on the "Search Tips for EBP Resources" tab above to learn how to search these resources effectively!

Search strategy suggestion: Search these EBP-focused databases in this order. If you don't find useful resources in one database, try your search in the database listed next.

Evidence from AHRQ

Agency for Health Care Research and Quality

Search AHRQ resources for reviews of research evidence and tools for improved safety, quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of health care.