Evidence-Based Medicine: Review and Practice
Filter Search Results by Appropriate Study Design
Look for articles in the search result that have the highest level of evidence for your type of question.
For prevention or treatment questions, start
by searching for evidence at the top of the list,
systematic reviews of randomized trials.
If no evidence is found at the top levels, move down the list looking for systematic reviews and then single studies of first cohort studies and then case-series or case-control studies.
For some types of clinical questions, a randomized controlled trial is not an option. For etiology / harm or prognosis questions, start with cohort studies.
Consider the publication date in the selection process.
If the systematic review you find was published a number of years ago
and found inconclusive evidence, then look for newer randomized trials
as your next step.
Small result sets can be filtered “by eye”. For larger result sets, use search filters.
In PubMed, you can access filters for Article Type, Publication Date, Age, Language,
and other filters on the left side of the search results page. If you do not see the
filters or options you want, you can click the Additional Filters button at the bottom
of the filters menu to add more items to the menu.