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Brackenridge Pharmacy Library: Evidence-Based Practice

The following is a selective list of resources that focus on the curriculum and interests of the students and faculty of the Feik School of Pharmacy.

What is Evidence-Based Practice?

Evidence based practice (EBP) is the conscientious use of current best evidence in making decisions about patient care (Sackett, Straus, Richardson, Rosenberg, & Haynes, 2000)

The three components (the "triad approach to EBP) are

  1. The best external evidence (systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials, best practice guidelines, clinical practice guidelines) that support a change in clinical practice.
  2. Individual practitioner's clinical expertise.
  3. Patient's preference.

The "PICO" question helps to define a specific clinical or health-related question to be answered.

  • P: Patient or Problem
  • I: Intervention
  • C: Comparison or control
  • O: Outcome(s)

Two helpful tutorials from Yale University:

Framing Evidence with PICO

Finding Evidence in PubMed


Want to know more about EBP in Pharmacy?

EBP Information Types

Databases index EBP as a Document Type, Publication Type, or an Article Type.

EBP Databases and Resources

UIW Databases

Additional Resources

What's in a Name:??

Literature Review:

  • Introduces context and current thinking, often without a specific question, is general and covers several aspects of a topic.
  • Finds papers through a fairly random process, usually searching only a few databases. Use of grey literature common, but not usually systematic.
  • Papers are read, ‘take home’ messages used in the review.
  • May include 150 papers or more, depending on the topic.
  • Writer interprets the meaning of the results.
  • Prose paper, occasionally supported with diagrams.
  • Actions/directions informed by evidence of various kinds drawn from included papers.

Systematic Review:

  • Uses a precise question to produce evidence to underpin a piece of research. A standā€alone piece of research, it should be conducted prior to undertaking further research, particularly in higher degree theses.
  • Searches of several specified databases using precise search terms; a similar systematic search of grey literature sometimes included, depending on the question.
  • Data extraction tool used to identify precise pieces of information; two or more researchers undertake data extraction.
  • Usually less than 50 papers; often fewer than 10.
  • Recognised, referenced, methods for data analysis; includes analysis of methods, rigour of conduct of research, strength of evidence, and so on.
  • PRISMA/CONSORT or similar chart/table of included papers.
  • Actions/directions are based on evidence from reviewed papers.

Information from Wiley Online Library


Once data of primary interest have been exhaustively collected, it is time to run a meta-analysis. A meta-analysis provides a powerful tool of combined analysis for all extracted data and gives weighted values for each study's effect sizes. A meta-analysis also provides whether a publication bias is present or not in assessing positive and negative studies e.g. using L'Abbé plot or inverted funnel-plots or even forest plots. Sometimes, a systematic review may be followed by simple pooled analysis when data are not sufficient. 


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