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Nursing and Public Health: Epidemiology & Pandemics

Decide what kind of information you need from your answerable questions such as these questions:

  • Who are at greatest risk within your population of a specific country for your health topic?
  • What is the prevalance of the global health topic within your population?
  • Provide specific examples of how global health topic is addressed within your population.
  • How does the global health topic impact the specific country?
  • Identify cultural implications and how the health topic is being addressed by other countries.

The first step is to identify your information need. With health research, form an answerable health question. It will help you focus on finding credible information.

When formulating an answerable question, consider the context of your question by considering the following questions:

  • Who is your audience: is it a population, or is it an individual, such as a patient?
  • How is the information going to be used by a population or a patient?
  • What is the health topic (is it looking at the prevention of a health condition, is it about the treatment of a health condition, etc.?)
  • What resources should be consulted to answer the complexity of your question?

As a health practitioner you will have knowledge and access to credible resources your patient or population may ask about, such as evidence-based guidelines, systematic reviews or randomized controlled trials.

  • Tip: Library Article Resources are an excellent place to start. See the Library's Research Databases.

Rating System for the Levels of Evidence

Rating System for the Hierarchy of Evidence / Levels of Evidence

The assumption is that a health practitioner knows the right thing to do. This is called ‘clinical judgment’. The assumption is, you are able to assimilate all you have learned from your education, training, research, personal experiences, and conversations, so be prepared to ask ‘What is the evidence to support my question?"

  • Level I — Evidence for a systematic review or meta-analysis of all relevant RCTs or evidence-based clinical practice guidelines based on systematic reviews of RCTs.
  • Level II — Evidence obtained from one well-designed controlled trials without Randomization
  • Level III — Evidence obtained from one well-designed controlled trials without Randomization
  • Level IV — Evidence from well-designed case-control and cohort studies
  • Level V — Evidence from systematic reviews of descriptive or qualitative study
  • Level VI — Evidence from single descriptive or qualities study
  • Level VII — Evidence from the opinion of authorities and/or reports of expert committees

Melnyk, B. M., & Fineout-Overholt, E. (2014). Evidence-based practice in nursing & healthcare: A guide to best practice. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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