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Evidence-based practice in health sciences

Locating best evidence: a step by step approach

Step 1: Work out what it is that you want to know

Defining your question will help you work out what it is you want to know.

A lot of time can be saved by accurately defining your question at the start of the process. See our example question in the next box.

Example question

Clinical case

Jeff, a smoker of more than 30 years, has talked about giving up smoking. He has tried unsuccessfully to quit in the past. He has heard through a friend that acupuncture was successful. Should he try it? Other interventions that you know of include nicotine replacement therapy and antidepressants.

Clinical question

In people who smoke is acupuncture compared to nicotine replacement therapy or antidepressants effective treatment for smoking cessation.

  • Population: Smoker
  • Intervention: Acupuncture
  • Comparison: Nicotine replacement therapy OR antidepressants
  • Outcome: Smoking cessation