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Evidence Based Practice (EBP)

This guide defines Evidence Based Practice (EBP) and provides resources

What is Evidence Based Practice?

Evidence Based Practice (EBP) is the combination of Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) combined with the values and preferences of the patient. Evidence Based Medicine is generally defined as "the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of the individual patient. It means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research" (Sackett et al. 1996)

The Duke University Medical Center Library and the Health Sciences Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have developed a wonderful Introduction to Evidence Based Practice, available for free online. These interactive modules are self-paced, and emphasize the elements of a well built clinical question while discussing the key issues that determine the validity of evidence.

What does "current best evidence" mean? - The EBP Pyramid

Evidence Based Medicine PyramidClinical Practice Guidelines are systematically developed using the current best evidence, practitioner experiences, patient experiences, and clinical outcomes. To learn more about Clinical Practice Guidelines, please see the NIH page on Clinical Practice Guidelines.

Meta-Analysis use statistical methodology to synthesize evidence gathered through a systematic review process on a particular topic and summarizes the results. To learn more about what a Meta-Analysis is, please read this article on Meta-analysis in medical research

A Systematic Review is a specific kind of literature review that systematically reviews all of the available evidence on a specific topic, evaluates the relevant data, and then provides a synthesis of the findings. To learn more about Systematic Reviews, please see the "What are systematic reviews" page from Cochrane.

A Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) is a prospective study that measures the effectiveness of an intervention utilizing a specific methodology in which study participants are divided by chance into separate groups that compare different treatments/interventions, including a control group in which there is no treatment/intervention. To learn more about RCT's, please see the UNICEF page about RCTs.

Cohort Studies look at  groups of people to try to measure and analyze a range of exposures and outcomes. Cohort studies can be retrospective or prospective, but they should include two groups that are identical expect for their exposure status. The two groups, one who is exposed to the risk factor(s) and one that is not exposed, are followed over time. A prospective cohort study is also called a concurrent cohort study.

Case Control Studies are retrospective studies that are often used to identify risk factors. Generally, this type of study compares a group of people who have a specific outcome with a different group of people who have don't have that outcome and looks back in time to see how the groups differ and if there is a statistically significant difference in exposure between the groups. To learn more about Case Studies and Case Control Studies, please see the students4bestevidence page on Case-control and Cohort studies.

A Case Report is a detailed description of an individual in an uncontrolled (meaning non-experimental), observational, setting. Case reports usually describe an usual or unique occurrence and/or intervention and can include adverse reactions, illustration of a new theory/approach, and personal impact. 

A Case Series is a group of case reports involving patients who are given similar treatment, generally for the same or similar issues. To learn more about Case Reports, Case Studies, and other forms of important, mid-range evidence (on the EBP pyramid), please read this article available for free through PubMed Central.

Background Information and Expert Opinion includes opinion pieces, such as letters to the editor, editorials, and books. Books provide excellent background information, but are generally written using the current best evidence. To access books at the Sacramento State University Library, use the OneSearch box located on our homepage.


Last Updated: Jul 3, 2024 2:33 PM