Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (Jun 2011)

Formulating the Evidence Based Practice Question: A Review of the Frameworks

  • Karen Sue Davies

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 6, no. 2
pp. 75 – 80


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IntroductionQuestions are the driving force behind evidence based practice (EBP) (Eldredge, 2000). If there were no questions, EBP would be unnecessary. Evidence based practice questions focus on practical real-world problems and issues. The more urgent the question, the greater the need to place it in an EBP context.One of the most challenging aspects of EBP is to actually identify the answerable question. This ability to identify the question is fundamental to then locating relevant information to answer the question. An unstructured collection of keywords can retrieve irrelevant literature, which wastes time and effort eliminating inappropriate information. Successfully retrieving relevant information begins with a clearly defined, well-structured question. A standardized format or framework for asking questionshelps focus on the key elements. Question generation also enables a period of reflection. Is this the information I am really looking for? Why I am looking for this information? Is there another option to pursue first?This paper introduces the first published framework, PICO (Richardson, Wilson, Nishikawa and Hayward, 1995) and some of its later variations including ECLIPSE (Wildridge and Bell, 2002) and SPICE (Booth, 2004). Sample library and information science (LIS) questions are provided to illustrate the use of these frameworks to answer questions in disciplines other than medicine.Booth (2006) published a broad overview of developing answerable research questions which also considered whether variations to the original PICO framework were justifiable and worthwhile. This paper will expand on that work.