What are the basic steps involved in evidence-based practice?

Evidence-based practice essentially comprises four steps. The first step involves identifying a specific clinical question to be addressed. A well-formulated and focused clinical question should include the population of interest, the intervention in question, the comparison intervention (if applicable), and the outcome. The second step entails finding the evidence to answer your question through a methodical and thorough search of the literature including systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and individual studies as well. For the third step, once the evidence has been identified, it will need to be assessed to determine its relevance to your original question, its quality, and its susceptibility to bias. The fourth step requires the combination of relevant scientific evidence, clinical judgment, and client preferences to make the best clinical decision possible.

This article first appeared in the June 2005 issue of Access Academics and Research.

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