Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

PT - Evidence Based Practice

Answering Background Questions

Background questions tend to be informational questions related to conditions and typically start with a question word (who, what, where, when, why, or how)

Answers to background questions are best found in secondary and tertiary sources: review articles, textbooks, and reference materials (e.g. encyclopedias, etc.)

Use these databases to find answers to background questions.

Answering Foreground Questions

Foreground questions ask for specific information, often to support clinical decisions or to support research.

You generally look to research studies to provide answers to foreground questions. The library's literature databases are usually good places to find research studies.

Here are the databases most useful for people in the field of physical therapy.

Point of Care Resources and EBP Summaries

The following databases offer different ways to find summaries and analyses of the literature to get a evidence based treatments.  Use these in addition to the standard article databases (PubMed, etc.)

PTNow logo

Clinical Summaries from the APTA synthesizing evidence on managing specific conditions in different populations


Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews logo

Provides high quality systematic reviews of primary research in health care and health policy.

Up-to-Date logo

Point-of-care resource arranged by conditions and treatments to help you make decisions in clinical practice.

ACP Journal Club logo

Critical commentaries of individual journal articles to help you interpret and judge evidence.

AHRQ logo

Evidence-Based Practice Centers (EPC) Reports - Reviews of relevant literature regarding topics pertaining to health care quality improvement.