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*Evidence-Based Medicine Resources

This guide focused on the "acquire" stage of evidence-based medicine and the resources and search strategies to support this process.

Clinical Scenario

You will usually begin your research with a clinical scenario:

Mark McGee – a 70-year-old male – is concerned about his bad breath.  You tell him that he wouldn’t have much to be concerned about if he only brushed his teeth. He doesn’t believe you and says, “show me the evidence!”  

Then you can use PICO, synonyms, & Boolean operators to create a well-defined, searchable question.

PICO Model

The PICO model helps you create an answerable question from a clinical scenario by identifying search terms & their relationships so that you can conduct an effective literature search.

P =   patient/population/problem 
Who is the patient?  What are the significant characteristics (age, gender, dental problem)?

I =    Intervention 
What will you do:  educate the patient, provide a dental device, drug? 

C =   Comparison 
Is there a comparison to the intervention?  Optional. 

O =   Outcome 
What do you want to achieve:  Improve oral health, reduce symptoms, improve patient compliance?


Synonyms, words that mean the same thing or are closely related to each other, can help expand your search appropriately. For this search, synonyms include:

Original PICO Term Synonym
bad breath halitosis
tooth-brushing oral hygiene

Other potential synonyms include mouth rinse or toothpaste.

This section and the sub-pages are based on the the "Searching the Biomedical Literature" section of the Dental Hygiene Research Guide at the University of Michigan Library.

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