Step 2: Find evidence

Use the terms from your PICO question to search a current literature database. When using PubMed, the easiest approach is to insert the most important words from your question with AND between each one.

Use the Clinical Queries section of PubMed to search for evidence.

If you are not familiar with searching in PubMed, work through the National Library of Medicine's online tutorial.

If your search yields too much information, try these approaches:

  • Make sure you are using the "specificity" button with either the "diagnosis" or "therapy" button
  • Add in further search terms with other words of your PICO question
  • Use the limits available when searching

If your search yields too little information, try these approaches:

  • Use the "sensitivity" button with either the "diagnosis" or "therapy" button
  • Remove some of the search terms from your entry
  • Remove limits from your search

Advice on choosing an article:

Sometimes more than one article fulfills your criteria. With quick review of the abstract you can usually eliminate some of the articles. We suggest you choose an article that:

  • Is recent
  • Indicates the study is conducted in a blinded fashion
  • Clearly compares your diagnostic test to a reference standard upon review of the abstract
  • Comes from a reputable journal

Compare your search results and search terms to ours:

Continue to read the article