Physician Assistant (PA): Frame your search

This guide provides general and additional information for the PA courses


  • Evidence Based Method (EBM) is a process used to filter out bias, incomplete or inaccurate research in the increasing number of journal articles used for clinical decisions.
  • Before you search map out what you should be searching using PICO
  • Use author and database selected keywords e.g. ScienceDirect database, synonyms, Pubmed's MeSH keywords, advanced database search boxes, filters-gender/age/year, etc.
  •  boolean operators (and or not)  or quotes
  • types of literature e.g. systematic reviews, meta analysis are best to use while making clinical decisions.  





PICO is a framework and process to use for successful database searches in order to ansswer EBM questions that address the

(P ) roblem or (P)opulation

(I) ntervention

(C) omparison, and


Systematic Reviews (SR)

SYSTEMATIC REVIEW  is a thought process with a framework where you should ask during your EBM/PICO searches: 

  1. Are the results of the review valid?
  2. Does the study address a clearly focused question?
  3. Did the study use valid methods to address this question?
  4. Are the results of this study important?
  5. Are these results applicable to the patient/population?, etc.

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