Finding the evidence

CASPFew (Critical Appraisal Skills: Finding the Evidence Workshop)

What is it?
A CASPFew is essentially a searching skills workshop that aims to help participants improve their ability to find evidence systematically about clinical effectiveness, especially in reviews and other summaries. Finding the evidence is one of the three essential elements of evidence based decision making.

What's involved?
Workshop programmes are tailored to meet the needs of their audience. The following are a list of core elements that can be incorporated into a workshop programme: -

  • introduction
  • group work
  • feedback sessions
  • session on sources of evidence
  • session on searching for evidence
  • practical session - either on query formulation or searching
  • libraries and centres of evidence
  • summary and evaluation

Integral components of the workshop include: -

  • hands-on most of all and priority given to practice
  • help while doing searching
  • modelling of practical techniques - "show us how"
  • examples of "effective" searches on "owned" problems
  • clear, minimal theory, tied to, or arising from, practice
  • something to take away (e.g. search results)

Anyone who wants to gain awareness and to learn practical skills in searching sources in evidence-based health care. If you've attended a CASP appraisal workshop, going on a Few is the next natural step.

What will you get out of it?

  • to be aware of the range and quality of available sources of evidence about effectiveness, irrespective of format
  • to be aware of how searching techniques and search strategies may affect outcome and to be aware of the problems associated with searching different sources
  • to be aware of the options available to obtain and organise journal articles and other documents
  • to share and learn from the experience of other participants

Resources available
The CASPfew web pages continue to evolve in order to support further workshop development and implementation. As well as providing background information and contact details the site contains a toolkit of programmes, slides, scenarios, exercises and examples for use in local workshops. In addition there is a sources of evidence and filters database.

Who to contact for more information?
CASPFew Programme Manager: Claire Spittlehouse, Public Health Resource Unit
By phone: Tel: