- Borrow & Request
- Meet & Study Here
- Tech & Print
Your first step in searching the literature is to define your question and phrase it so that you don't miss any important evidence. This is harder than you might think!
Foreground vs. Background Questions
|Background Questions||Foreground Questions|
|General Knowledge about a disorder||Very specific about managing patients|
|Usually about well-established facts||Need the current, best information on diagnosis, treatment, etiology, prognosis|
|Can often find the answer in a book||Need to look in the research literature|
Formatting Your Question
A well formed answerable question will also make it relatively straightforward to identify appropriate search terms and to combine them in the search strategy.
One way of identifying the key concepts is to use The PICO Method.
You may not need to use all of PICO - it depends on what you want to find out!
|Patient or Population||Who is the relevant patient or population? Be as specific as possible e.g. puppies, geriatric patients, pregnant bitches, spaniels?|
|Intervention||How? What intervention are you interested in? E.g. what is the management strategy, diagnostic test or type of food, drug or surgical procedure that you are testing?|
|Comparison/control||What is the main alternative? E.g. is there a control or alternative management strategy or intervention that you are particularly interested to compare? Sometimes, when you want to know if the intervention above is better than doing nothing, the comparator will be “no intervention”.|
|Outcome||What are you trying to achieve, measure, improve, effect? E.g. what are the patient-relevant consequences of the intervention? Be as clear as you can here.|
|Time or Study Design||
These are optional but they might be important in limiting your results
From RCVS Knowledge EBVM Tookit Asking an Answerable Question
You might want to try out this tool to help you get started.
121 The Valley Library
Corvallis OR 97331–4501