04.02 Evidence Based Research

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Today we’re going to be talking about Evidence-Based Research.

Okay, so there is so much information out there about healthcare, diet, medications, and a lot of it isn’t reliable!  A lot of times the stuff people find on the internet is clickbait and it can really misdirect patients in their efforts towards health and wellness.  Because of this, it’s very important for nurses and all healthcare professionals to be able to weed between all the bad research and bad articles to find the accurate stuff, the stuff that our patients can trust.   This type of research is called Evidence Based Research. There are a couple of really important things to be on the lookout for when you are trying to locate EBR. 

It should be externally peer-reviewed, ethical, valid, reliable and current.  Now you can take entire courses on nursing research, I’m just going to highlight a few things here. 

External peer-reviewed means that the article or research has been reviewed by other experts in the field outside of the journal that is publishing the article.

Ethical means that the organization called the IRB - the institutional review board has found that within in the study the rights and welfare of human subjects were protected.  And it also means there were no conflicts of interest for the author.

Validity and reliability are pretty complex things to assess but be on the lookout for these words when looking for evidence based research. 

And lastly, the research needs to be current. In the medical world, this means 5 years or less. 

Evidence based practice is what guides hospital policies, patient care and also patient education.  Some examples of this are the misuse of antibiotics and the MMR vaccine. Patient’s may still really want antibiotics to be prescribed when they have a viral illness so in this instance it’s really important that we are able to explain what the evidence says to help them understand why it’s bad to over prescribe antibiotics. 

The controversy surrounding the MMR vaccine is a perfect example of why we need to make sure that research is evidence based.  The initial study, done in 1998 that made people think that there was a link between the vaccine and autism was not peer reviewed, nor was it ethical.  There was a huge conflict of interest because the author of the study was set to make money off of a new vaccine product that split the 1 vaccine into 3.  

So you can see how important it is to check your references and find out if the research being used can stand up and actually qualify as evidence based.  


Most places you work for are going to have access to databases that have peer reviewed research that has been through tests for validity and reliability.  When you are looking at articles, a couple of keywords or phrases to be on the lookout for because they usually indicate that the research is evidence based are…. “randomized controlled trials”, “systematic review”, “ clinical practice guideline” and “peer reviewed”

Okay, let’s recap the key points.

Evidence based research refers to research that has been externally peer reviewed, is ethical, valid, reliable and current.  

Evidence based research should guide our practice and this is called evidence based practice-  hospital policies, patient care practices and patient education should be based on EBR. 

When looking for evidence based research, the best place to look is on a database.  Most places you work will have access to a database that you can use on a daily basis.  

We love you guys! Go out and be your best self today! And as always, Happy Nursing!

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