Most clinical encounters lead to a need for information. The first step in EBM is to translate the need for information into a question that can be answered by clinical research.
There are "foreground" questions and "background" questions.
Background questions - find answers in medical textbooks and/or clinical tools that provide topic overviews of diseases and conditions
Foreground or Clinical questions - find answers in clinical tools or databases
Sometimes you will see a "T" added to the question. T can represent:
Type of question being asked (therapy, diagnosis, etiology, harm, prognosis, prevention)
Type of study that will best answer the question (RCT, Cohort Study, Systematic Review)
Time to outcome - within a month, year, etc.
Therapy - effectiveness, efficacious, cost/benefit, risk/harm >>>RCT, Clinical Trial
Diagnosis - which test is more accurate, affordable, safe? specificity vs. sensitivity, likelihood ratios. Often measure against a gold standard test
>>> Prospective, blind controlled trial
Prognosis - likely clinical course over time, including anticipated complications >>> Cohort Study, Case Control, Case Series, Case Report
Etiology/Harm - cause or increased liklihood >>>RCT, Cohort Study, Case Control
Prevention - reduction in risk or chance of disease; interventions that modify risk factors >>>RCT, Cohort Study, Case Control
Qualitative - attitudes and beliefs; impact on quality of life >>> Observational Studies