Date of this Version


Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Del Mar, Chris and Doust, Jenny (2008) Check Unit: Evidence based medicine.

Published by The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners , April 2008, ISSN 0812-9630.

Reproduced with permission, © Copyright The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners 2008.



This is an updated version of an original check unit on evidence based medicine (EBM) written by Chris Del Mar, Paul Glasziou and Chris Silagy in 1999.

Our aim for this unit is to present a practical strategy in learning to use EBM in our every day practice. To practise EBM means to make clinical decisions based on the best evidence currently available. It sounds simple, however, the ‘devil’ is in the detail! Exactly how do we go about it?

On completion of this unit we hope that participants will:

• appreciate the role that EBM can play in improving the quality of patient care and in involving patients in the decision making process
• display increased confidence in the steps involved in EBM: formulating questions, finding evidence, critically appraising evidence and applying evidence with the patient
• understand which information sources are most appropriate for different types of questions, eg. therapeutic or diagnostic questions, and
• understand the basic principles to apply when appraising evidence, and confidently use the cochrane and Pubmed databases to undertake basic searches.



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