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Evidence Based Medicine

A collection of all Sladen Library resources on the subject of evidence-based medicine.

Finding Evidence: The Evidence Pyramid

The Evidence Pyramid represents how to efficiently search for the best evidence. Begin by searching resources at the top of the pyramid and work your way down as needed.

EBM Pyramid

Filtered Information: These resources summarize and appraise the quality of evidence from existing studies and often make recommendations for applying it to practice. Filtered resources include: systematic reviews or meta-analyses, critically-appraised topics (syntheses), evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, critically-appraised individual articles (synopses).

Unfiltered Information: Filtered resources are not always available on every topic. Searching the primary literature may be necessary. PubMed/Medline, PsycINFO, and CINAHL provide "clinical queries" or EBM search filters that can be used within a regular search to locate high-level evidence. 

Systematic Reviews

A systematic review summarises the results of available carefully designed healthcare studies (controlled trials) and provides a high level of evidence on the effectiveness of healthcare interventions. Judgments may be made about the evidence and inform recommendations for healthcare (Cochrane Consumer Network). Sladen resources to locate systematic reviews are listed below. 


Syntheses represent critically-appraised topics and evidence-based guidelines. Syntheses are typically point-of-care tools that are updated regularly following extensive literature searches for the best evidence. Sladen Library resources to help locate syntheses are listed below.

Clinical Practice Guidelines 

The National Guideline Clearinghouse website was discontinued in 2018. Please visit this Sladen Blog post for tips on how to locate clinical practice guidelines. 


Synopses represent critically-appraised journal articles. They provide quick summaries of individual studies. Sladen resources to locate synopses are listed below.


When no systematic reviews, synopses, syntheses, or guidelines exist for a topic, search for original studies in the medical literature. Resources to use for searching the medical literature are listed below.

Background Information / Expert Opinion

This final step in the pyramid refers to resources such as review articles and textbooks. Information obtained from these sources usually lack level of evidence ratings and are updated less frequently than other sources.