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Evidence-Based Practice for the Medical Librarian

Woman collecting books in libraryCourse Description

This eight-week online course is designed to be an introduction to the process of evidence-based practice (EBP) and the supporting roles and opportunities for medical librarians. Participants will learn how to identify the basic study designs for clinical medicine, compose focused clinical questions, peer review search strategies, and assess the risk of bias in published studies. As you move through the content, you will be able to identify roles librarians can undertake in providing EBP training and support.

The format of the course is a combination of a printed manual, independent readings, videos, webinars, and practice through a series of exercises. Instructors will guide you through the material and provide individual feedback for the exercises.

The course is approved for three academic credits. UNC SILS students are expected to attend a MEDLINE session via Zoom by one of the instructors and write a research paper related to EBP and Medical Librarianship.

This course is also open to practicing librarians. It has been approved for 35 MLA contact hours. It will take approximately 30 hours to complete the course, depending on previous knowledge of EBP and other factors.

For more information about the course, please e-mail Sarah Cantrell at For registration information, please e-mail Eleni Papadoyannis at

  • The course fee is $625.
  • Spring 2024 Dates for Continuing Education students: January 10–March 3, 2024
  • Spring 2024 registration has closed. Participants are selected randomly from an interest list and then invited to register. If you would like to be added to the interest list for Fall 2024 or have questions about the process, please contact
Course Objectives

After completing this class, participants should be able to:

  • Identify and explain the 6 steps in the practice of EBP
  • Identify the major study designs in clinical medicine
  • Identify the parts of a well-built clinical question
  • Identify appropriate resources to answer clinical questions
  • Identify and explain the potential risks of bias in randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews.
  • Identify and explain the potential risks of bias for at least one other type of study (prognosis, harm or diagnosis)
  • Identify at least 4 roles for librarians in supporting EBP education and practice for health care professionals
Course Outline

Week One and Two: Introduction and Question Building

  • What is EBM?
  • Why is EBM important?
  • Is it reasonable to expect evidence from the literature?
  • What are the controversial issues surrounding EBM?
  • What is the librarian’s role in EBM?
  • Constructing a well-built clinical question
  • Class Review 1 and Exercise 1
Week Three and Four: Selecting the Resources and Conducting the Search
  • Selecting resources
  • Searching MEDLINE
  • How to teach MEDLINE within context of EBM
  • Class Review 2 and Exercise 2
Week Five and Six: Evaluating the Evidence
  • Role of the Librarian
  • Appraising articles on Diagnosis
  • Appraising articles on Therapy
  • Appraising articles on Prognosis
  • Appraising articles on Etiology/Harm
  • Appraising articles on Overviews
  • Class Review 3 and Exercise 3
Week Seven and Eight: Roles for the Librarian, Final Assignment and Wrap-up
  • Roles for the Librarian
  • Final Assignment (and Final Project for UNC SILS students only)
  • Class evaluation
Sarah Cantrell
Megan Von Isenburg
Refund Policy
DateRefund RateAmount Refunded
Friday, December 2270%$437.50
Friday, December 2950%$312.50
Saturday, December 30 onwardNo Refunds$0