Evidence-Based Medicine: In Sherlock Holmes' Footsteps
April 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
Using a simple four-step approach, the author illustrates how to
develop better questions and more effective searches, resulting in
objective and clinically relevant information that can be evaluated
and implemented in day-to-day practice. Sherlock Holmes and Dr
Watson, the famous fictional detectives, assist throughout, drawing
parallels between criminal and medical investigation, and
simplifying the processes and themes of EBM.
Evidence-Based Medicine in Sherlock Holmes’ Footsteps is a concise, accessible and instructive introduction to EBM for medical students, health care trainees, doctors and allied health professionals, and a valuable resource for anyone wanting to improve their ability to search, access and interpret the wealth of information at the fingertips of today’s medical community.
STEP 1 FORMULATE AN ANSWERABLE QUESTION.
Choosing the Appropriate Database.
Clinical Practice Guidelines.
Critically Appraised Topics (CATs).
Primary Information Sources.
Other EBM Portals.
STEP 2 INFORMATION SEARCH.
Make a Wide Search with High Sensitivity.
Principal Database Search Strategy.
Limit Your Search Results/Increase Your Specificity.
Use a Good Hit for Further Searches.
STEP 3 REVIEW OF INFORMATION AND CRITICAL APPRAISAL.
Quality Assessment of Information.
Evaluation of the Scientific Quality.
Quality of Evidence.
STEP 4 EMPLOY THE RESULTS IN YOUR DAILY PRACTICE.
Balance between Benefit and Harm.
Strength of Recommendation.
Make a Recommendation.
Communicating the Evidence to Your Patient.
DEDUCTION, ANALYSIS AND MEDICINE.
SUMMARY OF INFORMATION SOURCES AND SEARCH ENGINES.
SHERLOCK HOLMES REFERENCES.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
RECOMMENDED EBM LITERATURE.
- Breaks the evidence-based approach into four steps: formulating
an answerable question; information search; reviewing information
and critical appraisal; employing the results in daily
- Introduces concepts with the use of easy-to-remember acronyms, clinical examples, tables, illustrations and selective quotes from Sherlock Holmes
"Small enough to read on the bus to placement but contains enough 'meat' to keep you entertained. It is clearly set out, and using Sherlock Holmes' steps really makes it a novel and interesting read. I think it's the best evidence based decision making book I have read." (The Placebo Effect, HYMS Gazette)
“Based on a solid foundation…concise…handbook that learners and practitioners alike could easily carry around…In this regard, the book is quite a success.” (Canadian Medical Association Journal)
Reviews of the original Swedish publication
”The entertaining analogy between critical appraisal and Sherlock Holmes´detective work, with well-found and appropriate quotations, makes the reading a pure pleasure.” (Läkartidningen 2004; 40:3100-1)
”The book is a little pearl and is warmly recommended.” (Ugeskrift for Laeger 2004; 18 October:43)
”The author has succeeded in creating a comprehensive, relevant and at times witty book. It is a useful and readable introduction [to EBM] that is warmly recommended.” (Tidskrift for den Norske Laegeforening 2005;1:125)
”[The author]has written an ingenious book, a compact EBM textbook in a light format, with a twinkle in his eye. The subject has been packaged for easy digetion – fish liver oil encapsulated in candy.” (Lääkärilehti 2005;3:322)
”This book written by Surgery Professor J.N. is a little pearl! Not only is it tasteful, humorous and well structured; it is also comprehensive, nutritious and – most importantly- understandable in an area where other more voluminous books fail.” (Svensk Bibliotekstjänst 2004:15)
–Medical student, Edinburgh University
"I would almost certainly recommend it as a core text for anyone
serious about scientific research and study. I would and will be
using this book alongside every essay in the future that I have to
prepare...A fantastic introduction on how to access the best
information available using the forbidding databases and online
search engines with a step by step approach to critically
appraising original scientific literature...It has completely
changed the way I will approach essay writing and literature
searches forever. I have often been daunted by critical appraisal
and no-one has ever really managed to capture and present such an
important skill until now." –Medical student, Glasgow
“Evidence-Based Medicine in Sherlock Holmes’
Footsteps presents key information within EBM in a highly original
format and provides a very good introduction to the main concepts
of EBM.; this book helps to further consolidate your understanding
of the main concepts. This text provides an original way to focus
on scientific integration of wider epidemiology with individual
patient requirements. It shows how EBM can be practiced in a
variety of clinical settings and gives good practical advice for
accessing the best evidence quickly and effectively.”
–Medical student, Bristol University
"This is the best book I've ever read regarding how to do EBM.
It teaches you how to do powerful, effective searches for medical
literature and how to review the evidence. All that you know you
should be learning about EBM but previously found it difficult to
start - They're spelled out clearly in this tiny beautiful
–Medical Student, University of Edinburgh
“This small quirky book uses examples from Sherlock Holmes
to demonstrate how to get the most from published journals, and how
to critically appraise the quality of the information gathered from
your detective work. A fascinating read that makes EBM more
accessible to the masses. Learn at the hand of the master. This
really is a great little book!“
–Medical student, University of East Anglia
I'm so happy that I was able to review this book. It has
completely changed the way I will approach essay writing and
literature searches forever. I have often been daunted by critical
appraisal and no one has ever really managed to capture and present
such an important skill until now. I hope this book evolves with
the search engines and data management systems so that it will
always be useful to current and future generations of students. It
won't be long until this becomes recommended reading for many
science based courses and those monotonous hours spent being shown
database searches by librarians become obsolete."
–Medical Student, University of Glasgow
"This really is a great little book! Size wise it’s good-
not big enough to put you off, and easy to handle and read. The
format is very functional. The layout and presentation are easy to
follow and the examples are clear and interesting. High quality
diagrams and pictures add to the ambiance."
–Medical Student, UEA
”It is well written, covers the basics and is delightfully
–Andy Oxman, Norweigian Health Services Research Center