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 include:

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 bibliography.

Was a study corresponding to your proposed "ideal" 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.


Choose Search Method: