PDS EBM Assignment

EBM: Finding the best evidence using PubMed

All PDS students are required to:

  1. Complete and submit one search strategy to a librarian for analysis, using the Search Assignment form below.

  2. Your goal is to find at least one good RCT (for therapy scenarios) or a good diagnostic tool comparison study. Ebling librarians will critique your lit search, give comments, and confirm that you completed this step. This assignment will allow you to test your ability to find good evidence regarding a clinical question, and to receive feedback about your search. This assignment should be completed using PubMed.

    To assist you in developing good database search skills and help you with this assignment, you should consider one of the following:
    • Watch PICO to RCT: A Quick Overview of Searching PubMed filmstrip icon - link is a video, a 15-minute tutorial specifically for PDS students.
    • Attend one of the in-person 30-minute search sessions developed specifically for PDS on March 23 (Thur.), March 29 (Wed.) or April 5 (Wed.). All sessions begin at 1:00 PM and are held in HSLC 3330 (in the Ebling Library)
    • Set up an individual appointment with a clinical librarian. Contact Chris Hooper-Lane at 263-9324, christopher.hooperlane at wisc.edu

  3. Complete a Therapy Worksheet or Diagnosis Worksheet and place it in the course drop box by 5 PM on MONDAY, April 10th.
the search assignment
  1. Enter your name and email:
  2. Name A value is required.
    Email A value is required.Invalid format.

  3. How did you learn how to use PubMed (enter all that apply):
  4. Watching the video PICO to RCT: A Quick Overview of Searching PubMed
    Attending an in-person Ebling Library PDS session (3/23, 3/29, 4/5)
    Using an online PubMed tutorial from PubMed
    Working one-on-one with a librarian
    Other, please specify:

  5. For the most efficient assistance from the librarian, enter your PICO:
  6. (Problem/Patient)
    (Intervention/Diagnostic Tool)
    (Comparison, if any)

  7. Access PubMed and conduct a literature search(es) with your PICO terms to find individual studies.
  8. Be sure to:

    • Utilize the MeSH database to find appropriate terminology.
    • Use either the Clinical Queries search box or the proper Article types filter (e.g. RCT) to restrict your results to high-quality studies. Don't use both in the same search!
    • If you use Clinical Queries:
      • Enter your search terms (from your PICO) into the search box
      • You only need to pay attention to the Clinical Study Categories column. Select the appropriate Category and the Narrow Scope from the drop-down menus.
      • Be sure to select the "See All" (at the bottom of your results preview) to record your search history (even if you only have a few results).
    • If necessary, you can apply filters (along the left side of the results screen) to narrow your search by categories (e.g. publication dates, ages, journal categories).

  9. Capture your PubMed search history.

    While on the PubMed home page, click on the Advanced link (under the search box). Copy & paste the History table into the box below (don't worry about formatting).

    A value is required.
  10. Enter the search set number which retrieved the best results for you (from the History box).
  11. A value is required. Example: Set #9

  12. From your search results, copy and paste the citation of the article (study) you chose for your assignment (don't worry about formatting). When you are finished, click submit.
  13. A value is required.

Within a few days you will receive a critique (and confirmation of completion) of your search strategy by email. You do not need to wait to receive the critique email to continue on to the Therapy Worksheet or Diagnosis Worksheet

Keep in mind that by 5:00 PM on MONDAY, April 10th, you must:

  • Submit one completed library assignment (this form)
  • Place a completed Therapy or Diagnostic worksheet in the course drop box

getting help

Chris Hooper-Lane, MA
Ebling Library


Katharine Imrie, MD

Page last updated: March 9, 2017
Questions or suggestions? Contact Chris Hooper-Lane