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Evidence-Based Research & PICO

Academic success includes being able to find evidence-based research. But what is evidence-based research? EBR means objective evidence — evidence that is more authoritative than subjective experience and higher than personal opinion or anecdotal stories. EBR is research that is supported by logic and is reinforced by the scientific method. The goal is for you to find high-quality, academic, peer-reviewed studies. 

One search strategy used by medical professionals is to use the acronym PICO. 

Suppose you are working with a recent stroke patient who is having balance issues and you are considering using virtual reality in their therapy.

The key terms for your search would be: stroke, balance, and virtual reality. 

For access to EBR at the NU Library, first select Databases. Next click on your subject. The CINAHL database includes a special EBR feature. Next click on Advanced Search. Once we are inside the database, look for Evidence-Based Practice and select it. Next we insert our key terms: stroke, balance, virtual reality . . . and select Search.

Along the left-hand side, you can refine your results by “References Available,” “Abstract Available,” “English Language,” as well as the date. Down below are also additional subject headings that may refine your search. Next, look for key phrases such as “systematic review” and “meta-analysis.” These are important for EBR. Once you go into the article, you can then read the abstract.

Along the right-hand side are other features: Add to Folder, Print, Email, Save, Cite, Export, Create Note, and Permalink.

For citation, click the cite feature, which will format it for you in various styles such as AMA and APA. Also, the Permalink allows you direct access to this article in the future. Finding such evidence-based research will demonstrate your skills and empower your academic success.