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Definition of EBPH

Public Health Knowledge Domains

"When and Why" of Using an EBPH Approach

Steps in Searching and Evaluating the Literature

Selected EBPH Terms from PubMed

Hierarchy of Evidence









Selected EBPH Terms from PubMed

Source: PubMed <>

The following list of subject headings can be used when conducting searches in PubMed for evidence-based public health research articles.

In addition to the subject headings listed, you can also do title searches [ti] in PubMed on the following terms:

Best evidence [ti]
Critical appraisal [ti]
Effective Programs [ti]
Evidence based public health [ti]
Science based [ti]
Systematic review [ti]

Advisory committees:
Groups set up to advise governmental bodies, societies, or other institutions on policy. (From Bioethics Thesaurus). Year introduced: 2002.

Biomedical research:
Research that involves the application of the natural sciences, especially biology and physiology, to medicine. (From American Heritage Dictionary, 4th ed). Year introduced: 2003.

Case control studies:
Studies which start with the identification of persons with a disease of interest and a control (comparison, referent) group without the disease. The relationship of an attribute to the disease is examined by comparing diseased and non-diseased persons with regard to the frequency or levels of the attribute in each group. Year introduced: 1990.

Case reports [Publication Type]:
Clinical presentations that may be followed by evaluative studies that eventually lead to a diagnosis. Year introduced: 1966.

Clinical trials:
Pre-planned studies of the safety, efficacy, or optimum dosage schedule (if appropriate) of one or more diagnostic, therapeutic, or prophylactic drugs, devices, or techniques selected according to predetermined criteria of eligibility and observed for predefined evidence of favorable and unfavorable effects. This concept includes clinical trials conducted both in the U.S. and in other countries. Year introduced: 1980.

Cohort studies:
Studies in which subsets of a defined population are identified. These groups may or may not be exposed to factors hypothesized to influence the probability of the occurrence of a particular disease or other outcome. Cohorts are defined populations which, as a whole, are followed in an attempt to determine distinguishing subgroup characteristics. Year introduced: 1989.

Individuals referred to for expert or professional advice or services. Year introduced: 1978.

Cost-benefit analysis:
A method of comparing the cost of a program with its expected benefits in dollars (or other currency). The benefit-to-cost ratio is a measure of total return expected per unit of money spent. This analysis generally excludes consideration of factors that are not measured ultimately in economic terms. Cost effectiveness compares alternative ways to achieve a specific set of results. Year introduced: 1976.

Cross-sectional studies:
Studies in which the presence or absence of disease or other health-related variables are determined in each member of the study population or in a representative sample at one particular time. This contrasts with LONGITUDINAL STUDIES which are followed over a period of time. Year introduced: 1990 (1975).

Decision making:
The process of making a selective intellectual judgment when presented with several complex alternatives consisting of several variables, and usually defining a course of action or an idea.

Decision support techniques:
Mathematical or statistical procedures used as aids in making a decision. They are frequently used in medical decision-making. Year introduced: 1991.

Epidemiologic research design:
The form and structure of analytic studies in epidemiologic and clinical research. Year introduced: 1998.

Epidemiologic studies:
Studies designed to examine associations, commonly, hypothesized causal relations. They are usually concerned with identifying or measuring the effects of risk factors or exposures. The common types of analytic study are CASE-CONTROL STUDIES; COHORT STUDIES; and CROSS-SECTIONAL STUDIES. Year introduced: 1998.

Evaluation studies [Publication Type]:
Works consisting of studies determining the effectiveness or utility of processes, personnel, and equipment. Year introduced: 2001.

Evidence-based medicine:
The process of systematically finding, appraising, and using contemporaneous research findings as the basis for clinical decisions. Evidence-based medicine asks questions, finds and appraises the relevant data, and harnesses that information for everyday clinical practice. Evidence-based medicine follows four steps: formulate a clear clinical question from a patient's problem; search the literature for relevant clinical articles; evaluate (critically appraise) the evidence for its validity and usefulness; implement useful findings in clinical practice. The term "evidence based medicine" (no hyphen) was coined at McMaster Medical School in Canada in the 1980's to label this clinical learning strategy, which people at the school had been developing for over a decade. (From BMJ 1995;310:1122). Year introduced: 1997.

Health services research:
The integration of epidemiologic, sociological, economic, and other analytic sciences in the study of health services. Health services research is usually concerned with relationships between need, demand, supply, use, and outcome of health services. The aim of the research is evaluation, particularly in terms of structure, process, output, and outcome. (From Last, Dictionary of Epidemiology, 2d ed). Year introduced: 1980.

Intervention studies:
Epidemiologic investigations designed to test a hypothesized cause-effect relation by modifying the supposed causal factor(s) in the study population. Year introduced: 1990.

Longitudinal studies:
Studies in which variables relating to an individual or group of individuals are assessed over a period of time. Year introduced: 1979 (1975).

A quantitative method of combining the results of independent studies (usually drawn from the published literature) and synthesizing summaries and conclusions which may be used to evaluate therapeutic effectiveness, plan new studies, etc., with application chiefly in the areas of research and medicine. Year introduced: 1989.

Outcome assessment (health care):
Research aimed at assessing the quality and effectiveness of health care as measured by the attainment of a specified end result or outcome. Measures include parameters such as improved health, lowered morbidity or mortality, and improvement of abnormal states (such as elevated blood pressure). Year introduced: 1992.

Peer review, research:
The evaluation by experts of the quality and pertinence of research or research proposals of other experts in the same field. Peer review is used by editors in deciding which submissions warrant publication, by granting agencies to determine which proposals should be funded, and by academic institutions in tenure decisions. Year introduced: 1994.

Prospective studies:
Observation of a population for a sufficient number of persons over a sufficient number of years to generate incidence or mortality rates subsequent to the selection of the study group. Year introduced: 1967 (1965).

Practice guidelines:
Directions or principles presenting current or future rules of policy for assisting health care practitioners in patient care decisions regarding diagnosis, therapy, or related clinical circumstances. The guidelines may be developed by government agencies at any level, institutions, professional societies, governing boards, or by the convening of expert panels. The guidelines form a basis for the evaluation of all aspects of health care and delivery. Year introduced: 1993.

Program evaluation:
Studies designed to assess the efficacy of programs. They may include the evaluation of cost-effectiveness, the extent to which objectives are met, or impact. Year introduced: 1989.

Qualitative research:
Research that derives data from observation, interviews, or verbal interactions and focuses on the meanings and interpretations of the participants (From Holloway and Wheeler, "Ethical issues in qualitative nursing research," Nursing Ethics, 1995 Sep; 2(3): 223-232). Year introduced: 2003.

Randomized controlled trials:
Clinical trials that involve at least one test treatment and one control treatment, concurrent enrollment and follow-up of the test- and control-treated groups, and in which the treatments to be administered are selected by a random process, such as the use of a random-numbers table. Treatment allocations using coin flips, odd-even numbers, patient social security numbers, days of the week, medical record numbers, or other such pseudo- or quasi-random processes, are not truly randomized and trials employing any of these techniques for patient assignment are designated simply CONTROLLED CLINICAL TRIALS. Year introduced: 1990.

Critical and exhaustive investigation or experimentation, having for its aim the discovery of new facts and their correct interpretation, the revision of accepted conclusions, theories, or laws in the light of newly discovered facts, or the practical application of such new or revised conclusions, theories, or laws. (Webster, 3d ed).

Research design:
A plan for collecting and utilizing data so that desired information can be obtained with sufficient precision or so that an hypothesis can be tested properly. Year introduced: 1973.

Retrospective studies:
Studies used to test etiologic hypotheses in which inferences about an exposure to putative causal factors are derived from data relating to characteristics of persons under study or to events or experiences in their past. The essential feature is that some of the persons under study have the disease or outcome of interest and their characteristics are compared with those of unaffected persons. Year introduced: 1967 (1965).

Risk assessment:
The qualitative or quantitative estimation of the likelihood of adverse effects that may result from exposure to specified health hazards or from the absence of beneficial influences. (Last, Dictionary of Epidemiology, 1988). Year introduced: 1995.

Validation studies [Publication Type]:
Works consisting of research using processes by which the reliability and relevance of a procedure for a specific purpose are established. Year introduced: 2001.

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