ONS Evidence-Based Author Guidelines
The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) continues to expand its commitment to the integration of evidence into oncology nursing practice, education, and publication. These Evidence-Based Author Guidelines describe minimum standards as well as resources for ensuring that ONS standards and practice guidelines incorporate the best available evidence in an explicit fashion. Field review of ONS publications will include criteria based upon these guidelines.
Evidence can include research, integrative reviews, other practice guidelines, quality improvement data, and case studies. Evidence-based practice (EBP) "defines care that integrates best scientific evidence with clinical expertise, knowledge of pathophysiology, knowledge of psychosocial issues, and decision making preferences of patients" (Rutledge & Grant, 2002, p. 1).
- Authors will search for current evidence and evaluate and rate the evidence based upon a hierarchy of evidence (see Resources to Assist With Managing Evidence).
- Authors will not limit resources to only those that support their personal point of view (See summary statement).
- Authors will clearly cite sources of current evidence that exists in the topic area within the text and in the reference list.
Author Tips for Using Evidence
- Focus on translating research findings or other evidence into clinically relevant terminology.
- Briefly summarize your evaluation of the type and strength of the available evidence (see evaluating evidence resource). For example, "To date, three randomized controlled trials have evaluated the effect of SSRIs in controlling hot flashes in women with breast cancer receiving hormonal therapy. These trials represent the highest level of clinical evidence."
- Avoid using general phrases such as "Research suggests..." If one study is being referenced, state author name(s) and date of publication, or refer to a specific reference. For example, "Schwartz (1999) investigated the relationship between exercise and fatigue..." If more than one study supports the same concept, summarize the results in 1-2 sentences and then indicate all sources being referenced.
- If contradictory evidence exists, address the full scope of the controversy.
- Include a summary paragraph at the end of each section that summarizes practice implications based upon the strength of the current evidence.
- Address how the evidence might now be used in clinical practice to assist clinicians caring for patients based upon the strength of the current evidence cited in the section.
- Possible points of view that may need to be addressed are:
- Sufficient evidence to make strong practice recommendation
- Equal evidence pro and con so that recommendations need to reflect this. (This is where the level of evidence available is especially important in comparing contradictory results.)
- Insufficient evidence to make any practice recommendation. Need for additional research in this area. Speak to the fact whether the clinical action is current/common practice even though there is insufficient evidence to support.
- Give possible recommendations for areas of future investigation/research that are needed to promote quality practice based upon the gaps that exist in the evidence.
- Use APA format for reference list/bibliography. Suggested sites that offer help with formatting:
Resources to Assist With Managing Evidence
- "The evidence needed in an EBP effort may be found in a variety of sources, from computerized bibliographic databases to your own quality improvement department."
- Suggested resources:
- National Library of Medicine allows free searches of MEDLINE through PubMed
- Further hints for searching:
- Cope, D. (2003). Evidence-based practice: Making it happen in your clinical setting. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 7, 97-98.
- Morrisey, L.J., & DeBourgh, G.A. (2001). Finding evidence: Refining literature searching skills for the advanced practice nurse. AACN Clinical Issues, 12, 560-577.
- Schulmeister, L., & Vrabel, M. (2000). Searching for information for presentations and publications. Clinical Nurse Specialist, 16, 79-84.
- Existing evidence-based clinical practice guidelines on your topic may be available through the following Web sites:
- National Guidelines Clearinghouse
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
- Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
- Oncology-specific guidelines can be found on sites such as The National Comprehensive Cancer Network
- Links to other Web sites are available on the ONS EBP Online Resource Center.
- Your institutional reference librarian may be able to assist with searches and accessing evidence sources.
- Authors are expected to identify the type and strength of evidence used to support the practice recommendations included in their writing. The ONS EBP Online Resource Center has information and references about critiquing research articles, guidelines, and integrated reviews.
- Your writing should include multiple types of evidence, including those with controversial and conflicting results.
- There are numerous classification systems for ranking the types and strength of the evidence. It is critical that you identify the types of evidence cited in your writing, such as randomized clinical trials or EBP guidelines.
- The ONS EBP Online Resource Center provides one example of a hierarchy of evidence as well as citations for other classification systems.
More information on types of evidence.