The steps of evidence-based practice

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a process that involves locating and applying research findings to clinical practice. The process starts when a clinical problem or question arises in relation to the care of the patient.

The EBP process follows a series of steps which are listed in sequence below.

Ask the question Construct a well-built clinical question derived from the case
Acquire the evidence Select the appropriate resources and conduct a search in order to acquire the evidence
Appraise the evidence Appraise the evidence for its validity (closeness to the truth) and applicability (usefulness in clinical practice)
Apply the evidence Integrate evidence with clinical expertise and patient preferences and apply to practice
Assess the effects Evaluate the performance and success of the change in practice

The steps can also be a circular process, where assessing the effects leads to consideration of another clinical question, another search for information, and so on.

Module 2 covers the EBP step of ‘Ask the Question’ using the PICO method, Module 3 focuses on the ‘Acquire the Evidence’ step, and Module 4 covers the last 3 steps of EBP.