TDNet Discover

Evaluating evidence that you find through the research process is essential.

Not all studies or publications are equal.

Questions to ask yourself as you read abstracts and summaries:

1. Is this article/study relevant to my clinical question or inquiry?

2. Is the research or study design of quality?

  • was the research systematic?
  • did the researcher(s) follow a strict protocol?
  • did the author/research report and discuss all available evidence/data at the time of publication?

The Info graph below: The Level of Evidence Pyramid assists in understanding types of research and visualize both the quality and volume of the types of evidence on the pyramid. 

"The quality of evidence drives the strength of recommendation, which is one of the last translational steps of research, most proximal to patient care."

Murad MH, Asi N, Alsawas M, et al; New evidence pyramid

Recommended Readings:

Drisko JW, Grady MD. Evaluating Research: Research Designs in Evidence-Based Medicine/Evidence-Based Practice. Evidence-Based Practice in Clinical Social Work. 2012 Feb 20:91–105. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-3470-2_6. PMCID: PMC7122666.

Burns PB, Rohrich RJ, Chung KC. The levels of evidence and their role in evidence-based medicine. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2011 Jul;128(1):305-310. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e318219c171. PMID: 21701348; PMCID: PMC3124652.

Center of Evidence Based Medicine: Study Designs

According the Center of Evidence Based Medicine study designs include:

  • A defined population (P) from which groups of subjects are studied
  • Outcomes (O) that are measured

Experimental and analytic observational studies also include

  • Interventions (I) or exposures (E) that are applied to different groups of subjects

Click here: CEBM  to go to a description of each research study type, their strengths and weaknesses; 2019.6.18