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Acquire the Evidence

To acquire the evidence, you must develop an effective search strategy. Search strategies may vary from one database to another. Searching for the evidence-based literature is an iterative process and will involve one or more of these strategies: identifying synonyms and subject terms for each concept, trying broad and narrow concept searching, adding and subtracting concepts to decrease or increase, respectively, the number of results, and filtering results according to particular parameters such as dates published, type of article, etc.

Once again, the clinical question is: For a 55 year old woman with osteoporosis, is a regimen of calcium, vitamin D, and/or weight bearing exercise as effective as treatment with bisphosponates in preventing additional bone loss?


Here is an example of a search strategy:

PubMed Clinical Queries


There are a variety of article databases in which to search for the evidence-based literature.  Click on the various tabs on this webpage to explore these databases and other helpful resources.

Next: Appraise the Evidence 

Use article databases to search for primary research articles, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and clinical practice guidelines. 


PubMed_Practice Guideline filter

Trip-search box

On the search results page, results are categorized by type of article, including "Guidelines."

TRIP-guidelines filter

National Databases of Clinical Practice Guidelines

Guidelines from Professional Medical Organizations

Additional links to guidelines may be found in the Residency Resources section.


These types of resources use an appraisal process to review and evaluate primary research studies, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses and apply scaled ratings or graded recommendations. When physicians use a point-of-care tool, they know that studies have been vetted for quality, validity, and relevance, and thus, they can feel confident in utilizing the information right away at the point of care with a patient.

ACP Journal Club -  a monthly feature in the journal Annals of Internal MedicineResearch staff and clinical editors rigorously appraise original studies and systematic reviews from more than 110 journals and summarize them in value-added abstracts.  Ten journal club appraisals are published monthly.  Included studies need to meet specific study design quality criteria and are rated on a scale from 1 to 7 on clinical relevance and newsworthiness in its field. 

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