Evidence-Based Research Series-Paper 2 : Using an Evidence-Based Research approach before a new study is conducted to ensure value

J Clin Epidemiol. 2021 Jan;129:158-166. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2020.07.019. Epub 2020 Sep 26.


Background and objectives: There is considerable actual and potential waste in research. The aim of this article is to describe how using an evidence-based research approach before conducting a study helps to ensure that the new study truly adds value.

Study design and setting: Evidence-based research is the use of prior research in a systematic and transparent way to inform a new study so that it is answering questions that matter in a valid, efficient, and accessible manner. In this second article of the evidence-based research series, we describe how to apply an evidence-based research approach before starting a new study.

Results: Before a new study is performed, researchers need to provide a solid justification for it using the available scientific knowledge as well as the perspectives of end users. The key method for both is to conduct a systematic review of earlier relevant studies.

Conclusion: Describing the ideal process illuminates the challenges and opportunities offered through the suggested evidence-based research approach. A systematic and transparent approach is needed to provide justification for and to optimally design a relevant and necessary new study.

Keywords: Clinical health research; Clinical trials; Evidence synthesis; Evidence-based research; Medical ethics; Research ethics; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research* / methods
  • Biomedical Research* / organization & administration
  • Clinical Trials as Topic* / methods
  • Clinical Trials as Topic* / organization & administration
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / methods*
  • Humans
  • Needs Assessment
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design* / standards
  • Research Design* / trends
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome