Searching the Literature
Three search methods are available through
this site: MEDLINE, Emergency Medical Abstracts (EMA), and the
Cochrane Database. Criteria for choosing among these three
- MEDLINE- This is the
broadest search option available in the US. It comprises
4000 biomedical journals internationally covering all
fields of medicine and going back to 1966. If the study
you are looking for exists, it is almost certainly in
there somewhere. If your question is of a nature as to be
of interest to multiple practice specialties and not a
particularly "hot topic" in emergency medicine,
this is your best bet. The downside is you may have to
run your search in several different ways to score.
- COCHRANE DATABASE
- This is the Cadillac/Mercedes-Benz
of evidence-based medicine. Systematic reviews done under
the auspices of the Cochrane Collaboration are considered to be the
definitive assessments of the issues in question. This
effort is still in its early stages. Topics most likely
to have been reviewed include pregnancy and childbirth,
stroke, cardiovascular. A number of reviews of interest
emergency medicine are due to appear this year on topics
such as croup and acute asthma. Select this option if
your question is in an area in which you know Cochrane
has been active. It is important to be aware that
Cochrane reviews will not be located in MEDLINE.
How to choose the best studies once you
have found them
Was a meta-analysis found?
If so, this is the most likely article to answer your question.
Additionally, other individual studies can be located from the
Was a study corresponding to your
study found? If so, the most recent such study is your
best bet since the authors will have likely been aware of
previous studies and would have attempted to correct shortcomings
in those studies.
Other helpful questions.
- Was the study designed to answer the
same question you have asked?
- Are interventions, cointerventions, gold
standard, outcome measures
- Was the population appropriate? You
may not find a study done in your own community however,
you should choose a study done in an analogous practice
setting (i.e. patients in an E.D. and not in a private
practice setting or under specialty care, etc.)
- Does the abstract reflect a concern
for fulfilling the important validity criteria for this kind of study?
Choose Search Method: