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Physical Therapy   Tags: allied_health_disciplines, physical_therapy  

An introduction to UI Libraries resources pertaining to Physical Therapy
Last Updated: Jun 12, 2014 URL: http://guides.lib.uiowa.edu/physicaltherapy Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Finding Articles and Evidence Print Page

Guide to Searching


What is Evidence Based Practice?


Evidence-Based Practice (EBP): Evidence-based practice is the judicious use of the best research evidence (found in health sciences literature), clinical expertise (what the health care provider knows) and patient values (what the patient wants and believes) to create a plan of action regarding patient care.  Evidence-based practice is an umbrella term that covers evidence-based medicine, evidence-based dentistry, evidence-based public health, evidence-based nursing and etc.

Using PICO to Formulate Clinical Questions

PICO is a mnemonic used to describe the four elements of a good clinical question. It stands for:

P - Patient/Problem/Population
I - Intervention
C - Comparison
O - Outcome

For Diagnosis, you may consider using:

P - Patient
I - Test
C - Standard
O - Outcome

For Prognosis:

P- Patient
F - Factors
O - Outcome (ex. Mortality)

Here are links for more information.


Using our Databases to Locate Articles

The databases listed on this page are excellent places to start a PT literature search. Please schedule a consultation if you have a specific research topic, and you would like some advice on either getting started or building a good search strategy.

 Look for the InfoLink button in your results, and select it to view full text options.


Good Places to Start

  • PubMed
    Large available citation database covering all biomedical literature, a free service from the National Library of Medicine. Includes over 5000 peer-reviewed journals, including most PT journals. Includes MEDLINE, which refers to all citations organized by the Medical Subject Heading system (MeSH).
    Access from library page to connect to full text articles via Infolink.
  • CINAHL Plus
    Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature: Includes over 3000 journals for nursing and 17 allied health disciplines. Primary coverage is peer-reviewed journals with studies and review articles; also includes dissertations, drug reports, conference proceedings. Includes most PT journals.
  • SportDiscus
    Includes a few unusual titles, especially in the areas of disability and adaptive sports, sports medicine, kinesiology, biomechanics, and the psychology of sport; also contains over 22,000 theses and dissertations.
  • PedRO  
    PEDro is a free database of randomised trials, systematic reviews and clinical practice guidelines in physiotherapy. All trials included are independently appraised, in an effort to supply users with sufficient information to guide clinical practice. Produced the Centre for Evidence-Based Physiotherapy at The George Institute for Global Health (Australia).
  • Hooked on Evidence
    Database developed by APTA to improve integration of evidence into practice. Available only to members. It includes extractions of articles related to physical therapy interventions that have been entered into the database by volunteer contributors. The database does not include practice guidelines, systematic reviews, articles on diagnostic and prognostic tests, or outcome measures.

Evidence Pyramid

These are some of the publication types that are associated with higher levels of evidence. You may want to start at the top of the pyramid and work your way down.

Publication Types by Question Type: Different study types are suited to different questions. For example:

Most Clinical Questions: Meta-analyses, systematic reviews
Therapy: Randomized Controlled Trial
Diagnosis: Prospective, blind controlled trial compared to gold standard
Prognosis: Cohort study, case control, case series/case report

Jennifer DeBerg

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Jennifer DeBerg
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319 335 8554
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Office Hours:
Daily, hours variable. My office is on 2nd floor of Hardin Library in commons west, room 207 f. You can always stop by to see if I am available, but best to make appointment in advance.

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