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Evidence-Based Medicine: Introduction

Evidence-Based Medicine Guide

About this Guide

This Guide is designed to assist students in:

  • Understanding core evidence-based medicine (EBM) concepts

  • Developing research skills necessary for the practice of evidence-based medicine

  • Accessing evidence-based medicine resources 

For questions about the information in this Guide or problems with links and/or resources, please contact Arwen Meador.  


When referring to this resource in your writing, please attribute with a reference, like provided here:

Meador, A. Evidence-Based Medicine website.  Sam Houston State University Libguides. Published July 2020. Accessed Month day, year.


What is Evidence-Based Medicine?

Defining EBM

Evidence-Based Medicine is the practice of using high-quality research, clinical expertise, and patient values to make clinical decisions about prevention, treatment, or management of illness.  

For a more in-depth definition of EBM, see:

Users' Guides to the Medical Literature: A Manual for Evidence-Based Clinical Practice, 3rd ed

  • Chapter 2: What Is Evidence-Based Medicine? 

Gordon Guyatt; Roman Jaeschke; Mark C. Wilson; Victor M. Montori; W. Scott Richardson

For an oral history of EBM, see: 

Evidence-Based Medicine: An oral History

JAMA Network


Evidence-Based Medicine Practice Model

Practicing EBM

Finding and using evidence to inform clinical decisions involves a five-step investigative process.  This Guide focuses on explaining steps 1-3.    

EBM Practice Model:  

1 Ask a well-defined, answerable clinical question.  Use the PICO framework to define the question.  
2 Acquire the best available evidence from the literature.   
3 Appraise the literature for relevancy, currency, validity, and applicability.  
4 Apply the evidence to the clinical situation.
5 Assess the effectiveness of the intervention.  Did it improve the outcome?


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