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University of Wollongong Australia

Medicine & Health: Evidence Based Practice

Discover selected databases for research and for your school or discipline. Plus find a useful toolkit for Evidence Base Medicine, and information on Systematic Literature Reviews in the Evidence Based Practice page.

Systematic Literature Reviews (SLRs)

  Systematic Review Literature Review
Definition High-level overview of primary research on a focused question that identifies, selects, synthesises, and appraises all high quality research evidence relevant to that question Qualitatively summarises evidence on a topic using informal or subjective methods to collect and interpret studies
Goals Answer a focused, clinical question
Eliminate bias
Provide summary or overview of topic
Question Clearly defined and answerable clinical question
Recommend using PICO as a guide
Can be a general topic or a specific question
Components Pre-specified eligibility criteria
Systematic search strategy
Assessment of the validity of findings
Interpretation and presentation of results
Reference list
Reference list
Number of Authors Three or more One or more
Timeline Months to years
Average eighteen months
Weeks to months
Requirements Thorough knowledge of topic
Perform searches of all relevant databases
Statistical analysis resources (for meta-analysis)
Understanding of topic
Perform searches of one or more databases
Value Connects practicing clinicians to high quality evidence
Supports evidence-based practice
Provides summary of literature on a topic

Kysh, Lynn (2013): Difference between a systematic review and a literature review. [figshare]. Available at:

Search and keep track of the evidence for your systematic literature review using these resources:

PRISMA is an evidence-based minimum set of items for reporting in systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

Use a framework like PICO when developing a good clinical research question:

PICO framework
Patient or Problem Intervention Comparison Intervention Outcome
Describe as accurately as possible the patient or group of patients of interest. What is the main intervention or therapy you wish to consider? Is there an alternative treatment to compare? What is the clinical outcome?

PROSPERO is an international register for prospective systematic literature reviews.

  • Includes protocol details for systematic reviews relevant to health, social care, welfare, public health, education, crime, justice, and international development (where there is a health related outcome).
  • Protocols can include any type of any study design.
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BMJ Best Practice toolkit

BMJ Best Practice toolkit

The BMJ Best Practice toolkit includes:

  • key methods of EBM – i.e. clarifying a clinical question, designing a search, and appraising, synthesising and assessing quality of the evidence
  • how to translate complex medical concepts about EBM into easy-to-understand information
  • what evidence-based practice means, the challenges of its adoption, and how to find and use the best evidence

Key databases for evidence based practice

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