Evidence Based Practice is about using the best available evidence on the effectiveness of medical and healthcare interventions as a basis for professional decision-making, along with the practitioners expertise and the clients expectations and values. There are a number of databases which provide access to up-to-date research in Nursing which you can use to ensure you are finding the best information possible. When looking for research, you should concentrate on finding:
Systematic Reviews: extensive literature search focusing on a specific clinical question. Studies are reviewed, assessed and summarised.
Randomised controlled clinical trials: experimental studies using primary data gathering techniques on different groups (treatments and control group)
Cohort Studies: looking at large populations who have had a specific intervention, followed over time, compared to a control group. These are observational so not seen as reliable as RCTs.
Case Studies / Case Reports: studies on individual patients, using past data such as medical records and patient interviews.
Critical Appraisal is an approach to systematically examine research to judge its value, quality and relevance to your study. There are a number of tools to help you undertake critical appraisal in order that you can effectively decide which research to rely on. The Critical Appraisal Skills Program (CASP) provides a number of free checklists that you can use when reading a journal article or research paper to evaluate its value.