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Step 2. Identify Appropriate Sources of Evidence

Once you have a question, you'll need to decide where to start your search. Your question topic and the type of evidence required will guide your selection. To find the best evidence, you need to know about the breadth of sources are available to you, the relative quality of these sources, and how to match questions to a source to search.


In this section, you'll:
  • Recognize that evidence varies in quality (e.g. merit, relevance, validity)
  • Understand that different types of literature are acquired from a range of sources
  • Identify sources of evidence that are appropriate to your question topic

Finding the best evidence means not only finding something that fits your topic but also finding the type of material that will be the most beneficial to you. Books, articles, and grey literature all have value and each may help you answer your question.

What kind of sources do I need?

  • An in-depth look at a topic? You can browse books

  • A quick snapshot of a specific research topic? You can look for articles

  • A glimpse into what other organizations/ groups are doing? You can search the grey literature




Grey Literature

  • In-depth information, examination or analysis of a topic
  • Longer time between research and publication so you get more complete information, long-term consequences, more robust research, broader perspective
  • Cumulative coverage
  • Longer to read (100+ pages)
  • Published once, though there may be multiple editions later
  • Usually on a specific topic
  • Best source for recent developments
  • May be incomplete, can provide only a snapshot of the total information
  • Great for fast-paced, time-sensitive, competitive research
  • Original research, typically one study (unless a systematic review or meta-analysis)
  • Please see the evidence pyramid in the previous section for information about specific publication types
  •  "Information produced on all levels of government, academia, business and industry in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing i.e., where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body"  -ICGL Luxembourg definition, 1997- Expanded in New York, 2004
  • Includes: guidelines, cases, reports, theses, conference proceedings, government documents, social media, etc. 
  • For more information please check out our online course 


If you’re not sure where to start, the KRS subject guides are a great place.  A subject guide is a carefully curated collection of high-quality evidence resources relevant to a particular discipline or area of practice.

Now we’ll take a look at the types of evidence resources more carefully (click on the grey boxes below to learn more):


Point of Care (POC) resources are clinical decision support tools that allow quick retrieval of information on diagnosis and treatment for immediate action at the bedside. These resources synthesize and evaluate the most relevant evidence from the primary clinical literature, and include detailed summaries of a wide range of conditions and interventions, rationale for patient care decisions, and links to original studies. Access our point of care tools on the KRS homepage under Popular Resources.

KRS provides access to:

  • DynaMed
    • An online Point of Care clinical reference tool that provides clinicians with the evidence-based content to support informed decisions. Containing summaries for over 3200 topics of diseases, disorders, and symptoms. Updated daily.
  • Lippincott Advisor
    • An evidence-based clinical support tool designed for Nursing and Allied Health professionals. This tool allows you to quickly access synthesized information at the right time, wherever you are to provide high quality patient care.
  • Lippincott Procedures
    • A Point of Care resource that provides evidence-based guidance on clinical procedures and skills for Nursing and Allied Health professionals.

Learn more about Dynamed and Lippincott Advisor & Procedures in a live online session. Sign up through our education calendar.

Also Point of Care resources, drug information databases provide accurate, up-to-date information on dosing, administration, warnings, and precautions.

KRS provides access to:

  • Lexidrug
    • Offers a comprehensive collection of drug information databases. Access includes: Lexi-Drugs, Pediatric and Neonatal Lexi-Drugs, AHFS Esssentials, AHFS DI (Adult and Pediatric), Martindale, Trissel's IV-Chek, Briggs Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation, Facts & Comparisons, Lexi-Tox, and more.
  • CPS (via RxTx)
    • Online version of the Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties (CPS) and Therapeutic Choices. Check out the KRS Drug Information subject guide for more recommended resources.

Articles are best found in literature databases and KRS provides access to over 95 databases covering a wide range of disciplines.

A few of our popular resources are:

  • KRS Summon
    • A research tool that searches multiple databases at once to provide you with quick, relevant results. This search box is a great way to conduct a speedy search. You can search by keyword to find full text articles ranked by relevance or use it to search for a citation that you already have. You’ll find this box in the top right corner of the KRS homepage.
  • Medline
    • This database covers the international literature on biomedicine, including the allied health fields and the biological and physical sciences, humanities, and information science as they relate to medicine and health care.
    • The Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature database covers the international literature on biomedicine, including the allied health fields and the biological and physical sciences, humanities, and information science as they relate to medicine and health care.

Find all of these on our homepage or browse through all available databases from our A-Z listing.

We maintain a specialized healthcare collection of print books, sharing physical collections throughout AHS and COV sites, as well as continuing to develop our ebook collections accessible anytime, anywhere!

  • Check out the KRS library catalogue for access to print books.
  • Ebooks are browsable and maintained separately outside the print catalogue.
  • Interlibrary Loans are another way to bring in books needed for your practice. We can find and provide items held outside our collection from our network of libraries!
To decide where to start, ask: