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Evidence-Based Practice Tutorial: Acquiring the Evidence

Acquiring the Evidence

Before you begin your search, it is important to carefully consider what exactly you are looking for and to build a search strategy that will help you to retrieve that information. The University of Arizona's Search Strategy Builder helps you to design a Boolean search. You will need to input your key terms or concepts along with any possible alternatives such as synonyms or specific examples of the concept.

In our clinical scenario, the Search Strategy Builder suggests that we search for: (bariatric surgery OR stomach stapling OR gastric bypass) and (type 2 diabetes) and (obesity).

Choosing Resources

Earlier, we mentioned that different types of clinical questions are answered best by particular types of studies. To find these particular types of studies, you will need to access different library resources.

For Primary Resources:

ACP Journal Club

ACP Journal Club summarizes the best new evidence for internal medicine from over 130 clinical journals. Once a bimonthly stand-alone journal, ACP Journal Club is now a monthly feature of Annals of Internal Medicine. Research staff and clinical editors rigorously assess the scientific merit of the medical literature as it is published and a worldwide panel of over 5000 physicians assesses the clinical relevance and newsworthiness of rigorous studies.


PubMed comprises more than 24 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books.

Cochrane Library

The Cochrane Library is a collection of databases in medicine and other healthcare specialties provided by the Cochrane Collaboration and other organizations. At its core is the collection of Cochrane Reviews, a database of systematic reviews and meta-analyses which summarize and interpret the results of medical research.

The Cochrane Library consists of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL).

TRIP Database

Trip is a clinical search engine designed to allow users to quickly and easily find and use high-quality research evidence to support their practice and/or care. As well as research evidence TRIP Database also allows clinicians to search across other content types including images, videos, patient information leaflets, educational courses and news.

For Background Information:


UpToDate is an evidence-based, physician-authored clinical decision support resource which clinicians trust to make the right point-of-care decisions. UpToDate covers more than 7,400 topics in 13 medical specialties and includes more than 76,000 pages of text, graphics, links to Medline abstracts, more than 254,000 references, and a drug database. Physician editors and authors review and update the content continuously.


Searching PubMed

PubMed has a user-friendly search interface, but there are many ways to improve your searches. One way to perform a more comprehensive search is to use MeSH terms, or Medical Subject Headings. Another important evidence-based medicine feature in PubMed is the Clinical Queries tool. The following videos demonstrate using these features.