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MDCN 345: Applied Evidence Based Medicine


Welcome to the MDCN 345: AEBM Library Research Guide!

This research guide will assist you in building the skills required to acquire the literature that you'll consult when working with patients in a clinical setting or with colleagues on research projects. 

Whether you're familiar with finding medical literature or new to using databases and other information tools, I hope you find the library component of MDCN 345 helpful to your academic success. I encourage you to utilize librarians and library resources throughout your academic and professional careers so that you continuing building your literature searching and critical appraisal skills.


Your Librarian

My name is Nicole Dunnewold and I'm your librarian for this course. I'm available to answer questions about finding and appraising literature for your assignments. You can e-mail me to set up an appointment. 


Our Team and Our Consultation Services

While I'm the assigned librarian for this course, all of UCalgary's health sciences librarians are familiar with the course requirements and are able to assist. To book a consultation, please email

Course Resources

MDCN 345 draws on a number of resources, though any testable concepts are covered in lectures and small groups.

The following is a list of online texts, physical books, articles, video tutorials, critical appraisal tools, and evidence based medicine calculators that you can refer to throughout the course. For further resources, search "evidence based medicine" in the library catalogue

Online Texts

Physical Books


The BMJ contains a number of articles on how to read a paper. Find links to articles in The BMJ that explain how to read and interpret different kinds of research papers here


Video Tutorials

Duke University's Evidence Based Practice Tutorial provides a good overview of the acquiring and appraising aspects of evidence based medicine, with modules specific to therapy, diagnosis, prognosis, harm, and systematic reviews. Consider reviewing the relevant module for your question type before undertaking your CAT assignment.  


Critical Appraisal Tools

These tools and worksheets can help you to appraise studies in areas such as therapy, diagnosis, prognosis, and harm. They are a useful resource for when you start your CATs. 


Evidence Based Medicine Calculators

Use these resources to find common calculators for things like number needed to treat and likelihood ratios.

The EBM Pyramid

The image below shows the progression from evidence to evidence-based resources. The "Hierarchy of Evidence" box shows which types of study are considered best (in descending order of quality) for therapy and harm studies (RCTs, for example, are better than observational studies as a general rule). Questions of diagnosis, prognosis, and differential diagnosis require different hierarchies of study design which you can read more about in Users' Guides.

Because there are too many primary studies for anyone to keep up with, there are "processed" publications, such as guidelines and systematic reviews, that attempt to summarize/synthesize evidence and give you an answer that you can apply in your practice.

On the right, the pyramid ranks the order in which practitioners should consult clinical resources: first try to find the answer in a guideline or summary tool like DynaMed. If that doesn't yield an answer, try to find a systematic review or synopsis (such as those published in ACP Journal Club). If you're still not finding answers, you may need to delve into the primary literature and do a PubMed search to find original studies.


Finding Current Best Evidence, Guyatt G, Rennie D, Meade MO, Cook DJ. Users' Guides to the Medical Literature: A Manual for Evidence-Based Clinical Practice, 3rd ed; 2015. Available at: Accessed: April 01, 2020


Further Reading:

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