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Evidence-based Practice

Types of EBP Sources

Types of EBP Sources:

  • Review some of the types of sources you may encounter related to EBP along with sample articles and suggested library databases in which to find the source.

  • The sources are listed in hierarchical order based on their decreasing potential for bias and decreasing availability.

  • Sources are not listed in order of preference and should be selected based on their fit with your specific clinical, PICOT, or research need.

  • Review the features of each example by clicking on the heading below. 

Finding These Types of Sources in Databases

  • When searching the library databases CINAHL and MEDLINE, both databases have a Publication Type option on the advance search page which allows you to select from the types of sources discussed on this page. Use the command option on a Mac or Control on a PC to select more than one type of source under the Publication Type options.

  • Avoid using the Evidence-Based Practice or Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) option on the CINAHL and MEDLINE advanced search page. These options target the journal as a whole. Many of the EBP/EBM type of sources discussed on this page are not published in journals that focus only on EBP/EBM research. 

  • The library database Cochrane Library contains systematic reviews and clinical trial articles. 

  • Review the Using MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) to Find Sources page for more information on searching these databases.

Grey Literature (Background Information)

Grey literature is a source that does not use commercial publishing or distribution channels.

Examples include government reports, policy/procedure literature, urban plans, white papers, preprints, conference presentations/papers, speeches, newsletters, patents, technical reports, statistical reports, company documents, dissertations/theses, trial registries, grants, blogs, or social media.

Grey literature is often produced by government agencies, non-profits, academics, businesses, healthcare facilities, or industries. It can be printed or electronic and does not go through the peer-review process. Electronic grey literature can often be found on the company's, agency's, or association's website.

Test It Out: EBP Types of Sources Quiz


Check your knowledge by using the three (3) questions below.

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