Project to Enhance Research Literacy (PERL) - Achieving Competency in Evidence Informed Practice: A Resource Guide for Educators

EP4. Analyze the research base within one's own discipline including the positive and negative interactions, indications and contraindications for one's own modalities and agents. 


Patient safety is a priority to all healthcare providers. Certain techniques or practices may evolve over time based on research evidence that identifies more effective care that enhances patient safety. Keeping current with research surrounding the risks and benefits for various modalities and disciplines is the focus of this competency. 

Goal- Keep current with research surrounding the risks and benefits for various levels of care. 

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize the need for information to address a clinical uncertainty.
  • Formulate a searchable clinical question.
  • Identify three search engines relevant to your clinical practice.
  • Perform searches of the primary literature.
  • Demonstrate efficient information management skills to identify clinical practice guidelines/best practices.


Bastyr University Library guide for faculty training in EIP includes database demos, search tips and strategies.

Asking: Using the PICO Format to Structure a Search for Evidence. This section of the Essential EBP for CAM Study and Practice Guide, (Barbara M. Sullivan, Ph.D. 2009, freely available through the National University of Health Sciences website), reviews the PICO approach to formulating a searching clinical question. Also included are patient examples and a simple form to assist with searching.

Evidence Based Medicine Short Course Asking Clinical Questions & Finding ResourcesCourse materials offer several resource suggestions and are available through the National College for Natural Medicine Helfgott Research Institute website.

Palmer College of Chiropractic Evidence-Based Clinical Resources webpage offers a comprehensive list of various links for search engines, guidelines, review articles and journals pertinent to EIP.

The Canadian Chiropractic Guideline Initiative offers several resources for practitioners looking to keepcurrent with clinical guidelines.

Clinical Compass Rapid Response Resource Center, facilitates access to relevant peer-reviewed literature.

AcuTrials® Database, maintained by the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, offers a database of systematic reviews and randomized trials for acupuncture.

Keeping Pace with Research Literature: Tips from Librarians. This free webinar presentation highlights severalstrategies to help stay up to date with research literature and organize your clinical research.

Seely, D., Szczurko, O., Cooley, K., Fritz, H., Aberdour, S., Herrington, C., ... & Guyatt, G. (2013). Naturopathic medicine for the prevention of cardiovascular disease: a randomized clinical trialCanadian Medical Association Journal, 185(9), E409-E416. This publication highlights the benefits of Naturopathic care for the treatment of metabolic syndrome and its effect on cardiovascular risk.

Oberg, E. B., Bradley, R., Cooley, K., Fritz, H., & Goldenberg, J. Z. (2015). Estimated Effects of Whole-system Naturopathic Medicine in Select Chronic Disease Conditions: A Systematic Review. Altern Integ Med, 4(192), 2. This publication provides a summary of whole systems research on Naturopathic care for varied health conditions.

Cheyney, M., Bovbjerg, M., Everson, C., Gordon, W., Hannibal, D., & Vedam, S. (2014). Outcomes of care for 16,924 planned home births in the United States: The Midwives Alliance of North America Statistics Project, 2004 to 2009Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health, 59(1), 17-27. This publication outlines outcomes of care for midwife-lend homebirths in the United States.

The Case for Pain Relief: 5 Research Studies for Massage Therapists. Freely available through the Massage Therapy Foundation, this collection examines the research evidence for the role of massage therapy in pain management.

Classroom Activity1

Have students install PubMed for handhelds on mobile device (or other similar mobile applications) and use the app during class to locate an article for classroom discussion or review assignment.

 Another activity might include taking time during class to help students sign up for email alerts to stay current with the literature. Bastyr University has a great guide to assist. Assign students to bring one abstract to each class period. 

1Acknowledgment to Dr. John Stites from the PIE for CAM Educators 2015 meeting of the Consortium of Evidence Informed Practice Educators.


Sara has shied away from treating patients who are under the care of an oncologist. She was taught in her initial training, more than 20 years ago, that it would be too risky for her to treat this patient population. However, she recently attended a continuing education event that highlighted the benefits of an integrative approach to oncology care. Having little experience with this type of patient, Sara wanted to know if her own professional services would be safe and provide benefit for this patient population. Utilizing the PubMed Clinical Queries function, she found both a clinical guideline and a systematic review highlighting the benefits and safety of her techniques clinical approaches for oncology care.