Searching the evidence: the clinically-effective nutritionist

Helen Moore, Carolyn Summerbell

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As a clinically-effective nutritionist faced with needing to find the answer to a clinical question quickly it is necessary to search the best evidence efficiently. The requirements are to: (1) avoid having lots of papers to read; (2) be able to access this information at one's place of work; (3) restrict reading to trials and systematic reviews of trials. If a decision has to be made while on the ward, the best resource is probably an easy-to-use book, Clinical Evidence. This resource is also available on-line, but there may not be access to the Internet on the ward. If a little more time is available, and access to the Internet, the following plan is suggested: (1) work out what the question is and highlight the search terms; (2) using the best search engine available, search MEDLINE from 1990 for titles and abstracts of papers containing the search terms, this is the search strategy (limit the search by publication type by requesting randomised controlled trials only, English language only and human only); (3) if more or less than approximately ten hits are obtained, alter the limits of the search (not the search strategy); (4) read the abstract, or full paper where available, of the relevant hits and appraise this evidence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)773-776
JournalProceedings of the Nutrition Society
Issue number04
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2003


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