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MXC Library Dental Research

A guide to dental hygiene resources available at the Carter G. Woodson Library at Malcolm X College

Evidence-Based Practice Research Strategy

A research strategy is a plan of action that gives direction to your efforts, enabling you to conduct your research systematically. Evidence-based practice research consists of five steps. Librarians can help with selecting a searchable question, finding the best evidence and appraising the evidence:​

  1. Ask a searchable clinical question​

  2. Find the best evidence to answer the question​

  3. Appraise the evidence​

  4. Apply the evidence with clinical expertise, taking the patient's wants/needs into consideration​

  5. Evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the process​

 Studies and Publication Types

When performing research in the health sciences, become familiar with the different types of research sources. 

  • Systematic Review or Meta-Analysis - A literature review that analyzes multiple research studies or papers. Designed to provide a complete exhaustive summary of current literature on a research question using statistical techniques​

  • Clinical Practice Guideline - recommendations that are based on evidence from a rigorous systematic review and synthesis of the published medical literature​

  • Randomized Controlled Trial - randomly selected scientific experiment with aims to reduce bias when testing a new treatment​

  • Cohort Studies - a type of medical research used to investigate the causes of disease, establishing links between risk factors and health outcomes​

Developing a Research Question or Choosing a Topic

  1. Identify your interests - What would you like to investigate? Begin with a broad search to determine what has been published and if your question is searchable. Utilize the PICO Strategy: Patient, Intervention, Control, Outcome to develop your question. 
  2. Background Research & Brainstorming -- You may want to start your background research with library resources, textbooks, or a Google Search. Accessing many different types of sources will help you narrow your topic. This will also allow you to develop a list of keywords that you will use to begin the research process. 

Using PICO

Use these PICO questions to help formulate your topic!

Patient Which population are you studying? Consider age, gender, specific populations and communities
Intervention What is the management, strategy, test or exposure you are researching?
Control is there a control or management strategy?
Outcome What is the expected result or what do you hope to accomplish or improve?


The Best Research for your Question

After evaluating the types of research sources, determine the best type of source for your question. 


 Appraise the Evidence

The evidence that supports the validity or truthfulness of the information is found primarily in the study methodology​

​Look for:​

  • Discussions of bias​

  • Methodologies such as randomization, blinding and follow-up of patients help ensure that the study results are not overly influenced by the investigators or the patients​