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Research Guides@Tufts

Evidence Based Medicine

EBM Reviews

Use this limit to narrow your OvidMedline search to articles that are considered "evidence-based" by experts. 

  • It will restrict your results to any of these:
    • Systematic reviews in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Click Ovid Full Text to examine the review with links to the citations to studies covered or download a PDF of the review.
    • Studies that have been covered by the Cochrane Collaboration in a systematic review. Click Find It@Tufts for direct links to the full text or a window indicating multiple links or print availability of the article.  Click EBM Full Text to read the Cochrane Systematic Review that mentions it.
    • Articles that have been reviewed in the ACP Journal Club or the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effectiveness (DARE). Click Find It@Tufts for for direct links to the full text or a window indicating multiple links or print availability of the article.  Click EBM Full Text to read the review or an outline of a proposed review.
  • Limits to these component databases may be applied separately or in combinations on the Additional Limits screen:

    • ACP Journal Club
    • Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR)
    • Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effectiveness (DARE).

Clinical Queries

Intended for clinicians, this specialized search uses these filters to limit retrieval in PubMed or OvidMedline:

  1. clinical prediction guides
  2. diagnosis
  3. etiology
  4. prognosis
  5. therapy

​Users can adjust the scope of their search for sensitivity (broad) or specificity (narrow). In its Clinical Queries box on its Additional Limits screen, Ovid displays combinations of the two scopes plus an optimized option for Reviews, Costs, Economics, and Qualititative studies in addition to the above filters.

PubMed's search box on its Clinical Queries screen presents citations for three searches: 

  1.  Results with options for filtering by the five categories above and the scope.
  2.  Results from application of its Systematic Reviews limit.
  3.  Results for a filter for Medical Genetics.


Systematic Reviews

Apply this broad limit to reduce your Ovid or PubMed results to citations for systematic reviews, meta-analyses, reviews of clinical trials, evidence-based medicine, consensus development conferences, and guidelines.

  • On Ovid's Additional Limits page, the limit is located in the Subject Subsets box.
  • On PubMed it appears in the center column of its Clinical Queries screen.  Link to the search strategies for this limit and the clinical queries for more detail.


Publication Types

Case Reports
clinical presentations that may be followed by evaluative studies that eventually lead to a diagnosis. Use this publication type to retrieve case series. According to SE Strauss et al. (Evidence-Based Medicine: How to Practice and Teach EBM, 2005), a case series reports "on a series of patients with an outcome of interest. No control group is involved." 

A work consisting of studies using a quantitative method of combining the results of independent studies (usually drawn from the published literature) and synthesizing summaries and conclusions which may be used to evaluate therapeutic effectiveness, plan new studies, etc. It is often an overview of clinical trials. It is usually called a meta-analysis by the author or sponsoring body and should be differentiated from reviews of literature.

Practice Guideline
A work consisting of a set of directions or principles to assist the health care practitioner with patient care decisions about appropriate diagnostic, therapeutic, or other clinical procedures for specific clinical circumstances. Practice guidelines may be developed by government agencies at any level, institutions, organizations such as professional societies or governing boards, or by the convening of expert panels. They can provide a foundation for assessing and evaluating the quality and effectiveness of health care in terms of measuring improved health, reduction of variation in services or procedures performed, and reduction of variation in outcomes of health care delivered.

Randomized Controlled Trial
A work consisting of a clinical trial that involves at least one test treatment and one control treatment, concurrent enrollment and follow-up of the test- and control-treated groups, and in which the treatments to be administered are selected by a random process, such as the use of a random-numbers table. Treatment allocations using coin flips, odd-even numbers, patient social security numbers, days of the week, medical record numbers, or other such pseudo- or quasi-random processes, are not truly randomized and a trial employing any of these techniques for patient assignment is designated simply a Controlled Clinical Trial.

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