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An online degree completion program that offers registered nurses an efficient way to enhance their ability to provide quality patient care while strengthening their value in the fast-growing nursing profession.

What is APA Style?

APA Style is a standardized writing format, established by the American Psychological Association, which you may need to follow when submitting projects or papers. If you have questions about APA formatting, look at our APA Style Guide.


RefWorks is a powerful online research management tool designed to help you easily gather, organize, store and share your research and to instantly generate citations and bibliographies. See our RefWorks research guide for information about using refworks. 


What is Evidence-Based Practice?

Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) or Evidence-Based Practice (EBP, or EBNP for nursing practice) is "the integration of best research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values." Sackett, D. L. (2000). Evidence-based medicine: How to practice and teach EBM(2nd ed.). Edinburgh; New York: Churchill Livingstone.

What's a Primary Source?

In nursing, the focus of a primary source is on original research from one research study.  A primary source in nursing is an article written by the researcher(s) who performed the research experiment and includes original research data. Secondary sources are ones that summarize or compare primary research articles in a particular area, such as a Systematic Review.  A primary research article contains the following:

  • Introduction: Research question which defines the aim of the research
  • Methodology
  • Results
  • Discussion/Conclusions
  • References

For example, this citation shows a primary source article: 

This article, though on a similar topic, is not a primary source even though it still looks very formal and official. Instead, it's an overview of previous research studies, without providing any new research. 

What is PICOT?

To formulate questions in Evidence Based Practice, use the PICOT format.

PICOT stands for:

  • Population/ Patient Problem: Who is your patient? (Disease or Health status, age, race, sex)
  • Intervention: What do you plan to do for the patient? (Specific tests, therapies, medications)
  • Comparison: What is the alternative to your plan? (ie. No treatment, different type of treatment, etc.)
  • Outcome: What outcome do you seek? (Less symptoms, no symptoms, full health, etc.)
  • Time:  What is the time frame? (This element is not always included.)

Your PICOT question will fall under one of these types:

  • Therapy
  • Diagnosis
  • Etiology
  • Prognosis
  • Intervention
  • Meaning

For additional information, see:

Video: PICO(T) -- Developing the Answerable Clinical Question

Video: Using PICO(T) to Structure Your Literature Search

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