The evidence based clinician: part 2--finding the right answers
In the second part of this series, Christopher Ball offers help with finding the right answers
The first article explained how to ask answerable questions--this one concentrates on how to find clinically useful answers rapidly. It will show you how to identify evidence based resources, describe some of the commoner ones, and outline some efficient search techniques.
Before starting you should make sure that the resources you are using are truly evidence based.
It is easy to do--just ask yourself three simple questions:
If you think about most of the resources available, you will realise that few medical publications bother to report any of this--just look at the textbooks on your bookshelves. Without these reassurances you cannot be certain what is fact or fiction. Fortunately, some textbooks and websites are starting to tackle this deficiency by hallmarking every statement they make with a quality of evidence grade.123 These “levels of evidence” (see www.eboncall.co.uk/levels) allow readers to identify rapidly the quality of the evidence and help them