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This article is published by the BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL
Sanders S, Del Mar C. Clever searching for evidence. BMJ 2005;330:1162-3.
BMJ is available online at


Do people who write about and propagate evidence based medicine use its principles properly? How good is our ability to find the best evidence?

We still need to search databases of primary research to find original research data. Reviews may be out of date or not relevant enough to real clinical problems. However discovery of clinically relevant research papers is not a simple task. Skills limitations - both perceived and real - are important barriers to effective searching. Clinicians also need to acquire other skills - namely asking an initial useful question, then appraising and applying evidence. Delaying clinical activity to look for the best evidence is not even considered by many doctors and many clinicians do not search at all. By not searching clinicians risk missing something important - possibly the best evidence to answer at least some of their questions.



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