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Nursing Toolkit (College of Nursing): Evidence Informed Practice

This guide assists students and faculty in the College of Nursing.


Evidence-Based Practice is the integration of current best research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values to facilitate clinical decision-making.
Sackett DL, Straus SE, Richardson WS, et al. Evidence-based medicine: how to practice and teach EBM. 2d ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2000.

See the Evidence Glossary compiled by Health Evidence at McMaster University for definitions. 

Types of evidence

The 6S pyramid is a hierarchy of evidence sources:

Systems, Summaries, Synopses of Syntheses, Syntheses, Synopses of Studies, and Individual Studies.

Based on DiCenso A, Bayley L, Haynes B. Accessing preappraised evidence: fine-tuning the 5S model into a 6S model. ACP J Club. 2009; Vol 151 Issue 3: P1-1. (From Clinical Information Access Portal (CIAP) Education Modules, eHealth, NSW education/learning/module4/section_3_3.html)

Evidence Based Practice, Step by Step (series)

Examples of Evidence Based Practice Journals

More EBN resources


Systems - Clinical evidence is integrated into the electronic patient record system.


Summaries - integration of best available evidence into a resource to guide care, ex. clinical guidelines or evidence-based clinical information resources.


See the Practice Guidelines section of the Nursing toolkit for sources of guides.


Syntheses, or systematic reviews, are comprehensive appraisal of evidence available for a specific research question.

Synopses of Syntheses & Individual Studies

Synopses - summarized evidence from systematic reviews (syntheses) or high-quality single studies. Found in evidence-based abstract journals and online resources.

Evidence-Based Abstract Journals

Individual Studies

Individual studies can be identified by searching the Library's databases. Which datbase you use will depend on your topic. Here are a few databases to think about using:

The complete list of library databases is available on the library's main website.