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Athletic Training, Exercise Physiology, & Physical Therapy

This guide points out some of our many resources that are relevant to the field. As well as great tutorials and tips for searching, citing, finding, and evaluating information and resources.

Library Session for Dr. Wayner's PT 7400 Class: Out of Class

Not able to make the class session? Or Hanna is sick? Then this page on my guide will walk you through the highlights of what I had planned for our in-class session. My goal with this information is to set you up for success for your CAT assignment. I have given this session to 6(?) other PT 7400 courses in the past. Trust me, this information will help you.

Do not hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have. All of my contact information is on my Contact Me tab.

1. Watch this 3-minute video on how to navigate the library's homepage.

This is important so you know how to get to databases and other resources. Remember to connect to PubMed, SportDiscus, and other relevant research databases through the library's website. That way you ensure better access to more full-text of articles.

2. What is Evidence-Based Practice?

Evidence-Based Practice is important because it includes 3 important pillars: clinical expertise (your brilliant brain), patient values, and best research evidence (why you are working on this CAT assignment).

Not all evidence is created equally. The medical literature is immense, but only a small portion of it is immediately useful in answering clinical questions. The literature reports the whole spectrum of the scientific research process. Different study types aim to answer different kinds of questions (qualitative vs. quantitative). Understanding the type of study and it's potential biases help you to make good decisions when evaluating literature.

Explore the Pyramid of Evidence and the study design tab to identify where different methodologies lie. The higher up the pyramid, the more robust the study and thus less biased. And for your CAT assignment, you are tasked with finding the best available evidence so it's crucial that you are familiar with study types.

Before you move to part 3, complete the quiz below to test your study methodology identification skills.


3. Your CAT Assignment

Critically Appraised Topic (CAT) a short summary of the best evidence to a focused, clinical question.  It allows users (clinicians) to use the results in such a way that they can easily be shared or stored for later use. How to Write a Critically Appraised Topic (CAT). And here is an example CAT - Skin Stretching for Burn Scar Excision

 Five Steps of EBP and CAT

  • Asking a focused and answerable question that translates uncertainty to an answerable question (AKA your PICO question - More on PICO questions here)

  • Searching for the best available evidence and provide methodology

  • Critically appraising the evidence for validity and clinical relevance

  • Applying the results to practice

  • Evaluation of performance & summarizing 


4. Searching for Best Available Evidence

Ok, next you will need to open the worksheet linked below. The rest of the section will focus on how to search for your topic to get a comprehensive and relevant results list of research articles.

Here is an example topic with a sample table like you see on the worksheet in part 3. (Slide 9 of my PPT linked above)

Does injury prevention education (I) decrease the number of arm and hand injuries (O) in professional symphony musicians (P) over the course of a year (T)?

In the table below, I have identified my main concepts in the first column. The second and third columns are other, related words that are related or synonymous with my concepts. As silly as this process seems, it makes ALL the difference in your search. Authors will use different jargon to mean the same thing, we all use language differently. So it's important that you identify the words that will get you want you want.

Search strategy table

What are MeSH headings?

MeSH is PubMed's controlled vocabulary. This means that every record that is in PubMed will be assigned MeSH terms (categories) as a way to organize them and make articles easier to find. MeSH terms do some work for you because they associate groups of similar concepts together. More about MeSH on my EBP guide and where to find them.

You will need to identify and use several MeSH terms to maximize your search results.

Part 4 of the worksheet, creating a search string to search in PubMed and other databases. For this, review my search strategy tab, specifically AND/OR/NOT (Boolean Search Terms). This word formula is how you communicate to databases. NEVER search full sentences. Given my sample topic above, my search strategy may look like this:

(wounds and injuries OR Arm Injuries OR Sprains and Strains OR Carpal Tunnel Syndrome) AND (Musician OR  Instrumentalist) AND (Accident Prevention OR Awareness OR Occupational Safety OR occupational health)

Notice I am using a mix of my original concepts, MeSH, and synonyms to optimize my search. Provide the database wiggle room to gather relevant literature. Your search strategy is an on-going process. The more you dig into literature, the more you will develop more relevant search terms and filters.

Now that you have a search strategy, it's time to search! Below is a brief video of how to search PubMed. Also visit my Article Resources tab for other, relevant databases to search.