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Evidence-Based Medicine

Search Tips

Search Tips and Tricks for Heavily Distilled Products

  • Consider browsing by disease, as this often leads to the “highest level” of article
  • If no index to contents exists, try a disease search, then browse results
  • The more distilled the product, the more general the search!
  • These are small databases; your results will be small even for one-word searches! e.g. search by drug or disease name, and add no qualifiers
  • Consider synonyms, spelling variations, word variations e.g. prevention = prophylaxis = primary prevention e.g. behavior = behaviour e.g. prozac = fluoxetine, also consider ssri, tradenames
  • Omit needless words that may remove good results!
  • Pubmed Clinical Queries - filter selection handles common aspects, e.g. treatment, so you don’t need those “qualifier” words
  • Start with a basic search.  If results are too large, add qualifiers one by one, not all-at-once

Search Tips and Tricks for Less Distilled Products and Search Engines

  • Your goal is to eliminate the junk and let the professional, high quality literature filter to the top of the results list.
  • Think of words that the author would use
  • Use professional vs. layperson languageE.g. Hypercholesterolemia not high cholesterol

The less distilled the product, the more specific the search!

EBM "How-to" Guides

Find It Fast! Video Tutorials

Yale's Find It Fast! series of video tutorials are great for explaining some basic terminology and theories for evidence-based practice. They also show you how to use the Cochrane Database, ACP Smart Medicine, Clinical Evidence, Trip and how to perform Clinical Queries in Medline.


Although the U of T Libraries does not own a subscription to this item, some limited free information is available, including a glossary, calculators, podcasts and worksheets. It is updated monthly.

EBM "How-to" Books

DIY Resources


Provided by the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine, CATmaker is a free, downloadable application which helps you create CATs (Critically Appraised Topics). This can help you formulate your own bottom lines and store, print and share them. The EBM Page Generator

Dartmouth and Yale Universities have created an an EBM page generation tool that allows you to select your own resources and produces a code to use on your own webpage.