Skip to Main Content

NUR 354: Evidence-Based Nursing

Searching for Information

The primary databases we will be using include

  • PubMed
  • ProQuest Nursing

But before we get started, let's learn about how to create a strategy for finding relevant information using the PICO method.

What is Research?

Research -  how do you define it?

Evidence based practice defines 'research' as the creation of new knowledge through studies or trials. (Some folks include surveys and questionnaires. See Research Types.) You could think of this as Research with a capital R.

Looking up studies and trials is defined as a 'literature review'. You could think of this as research with a small 'r'. It is what we do when we want to find out what is already known.

When practicing evidence based nursing, you usually have to perform a literature review. You seldom actually have to 'do' Research.

Evidence Based Nursing Process

Evidence based practice is answering clinical questions using a combination of information from existing research, your clinical expertise, your patient's values, and the local resources.

Evidence based practice can be broken down into the following steps. 

  1. You ask a question about patient care, prognosis, harm, or diagnosis. 
  2. You clarify your question using PICO (P=patient/problem   I=intervention   C=comparison  O=outcomes).
  3. You search for an existing answer in research studies or summaries.
  4. You evaluate the answer that you find - does it fit with your patient's values and with the resources at hand?
  5. You carry out the answer.


View the example PICO worksheet below which is used to formulate a question relating to children with a temperature presenting to Emergency Centres. A blank PICO worksheet is available for you to practice how to formulate your question.

(From Purdue University Libraries)