The Ultimate on How to Write an Evidence-Based Practice Paper in Nursing

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a critical component of modern nursing practice. It involves the use of the best available research evidence to inform clinical decision-making, rather than relying solely on personal experience or tradition. EBP has been shown to improve patient outcomes, reduce healthcare costs, and increase job satisfaction among healthcare professionals.

One way to incorporate EBP into nursing practice is by writing an evidence-based practice paper. This type of paper requires students to identify a clinical problem, conduct a comprehensive literature review, critically appraise the evidence, analyze and synthesize the findings, and develop an implementation plan for changes in practice.

In this article, we will provide a step-by-step approach to writing an evidence-based practice paper, including tips for effective writing and common pitfalls to avoid. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about the process.

Importance of evidence-based practice in nursing

Evidence-based practice is essential in nursing for several reasons. First, it improves the quality of care provided to patients. By using the best available evidence, nurses can make more informed decisions about patient care, resulting in better outcomes.

Second, EBP helps to reduce healthcare costs. By using interventions that have been shown to be effective, nurses can avoid unnecessary treatments, tests, and procedures that can be expensive and may have adverse effects on patients.

Third, EBP promotes job satisfaction among healthcare professionals. By using evidence-based interventions, nurses can feel more confident in their decisions and more satisfied with their work, leading to better job performance and retention.

Evidence-based practice (ebp) paper
evidence-based practice paper

What is an evidence-based practice paper?

An evidence-based practice paper is a type of academic writing that requires students to identify a clinical problem, conduct a comprehensive literature review, critically appraise the evidence, analyze and synthesize the findings, and develop an implementation plan for changes in practice.

The purpose of writing an evidence-based practice paper

The purpose of writing an evidence-based practice paper is to promote the use of evidence-based interventions in clinical practice. By identifying a clinical problem, conducting a comprehensive literature review, and critically appraising the evidence, students can develop an understanding of the best available evidence for a particular issue.

By analyzing and synthesizing the evidence, students can develop a conclusion about the most effective interventions for the clinical problem. Finally, by developing an implementation plan and evaluating outcomes, students can determine the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed interventions in practice.

Step 1: Choosing a Topic

Identifying a clinical problem

The first step in writing an evidence-based practice paper is to identify a clinical problem. This can be a problem that you have observed in your clinical practice or one that you are interested in researching. The problem should be relevant to nursing practice and have a clear impact on patient outcomes.

Defining a research question

Once you have identified a clinical problem, the next step is to define a research question. This question should be specific, relevant, and answerable. It should also be feasible to address this with the available evidence.

Conducting a literature review

After defining the research question, the next step is to conduct a comprehensive literature review. This involves searching for and critically appraising the available evidence related to the research question.

Step 2: Collecting Data

Primary sources of data

Primary sources of data are original research studies that are published in peer-reviewed journals. These studies provide the strongest evidence for clinical practice.

Secondary sources of data

Once you have identified a clinical problem and defined a research question, the next step is to collect data to answer your question. There are two primary sources of data: quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative data refers to numerical data that can be analyzed using statistical methods, while qualitative data refers to non-numerical data such as text, images, or videos.

Secondary sources of data can also be valuable in conducting an evidence-based practice paper. These include systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and clinical practice guidelines, which provide a synthesis of existing research on a particular topic.

When searching and selecting sources, it is important to use strategies that ensure a comprehensive and unbiased search. This can include searching multiple databases, using controlled vocabulary, and searching for gray literature.

Step 3: Appraising the Evidence

Once you have collected your data, it is important to appraise it to ensure that it is of high quality, relevant to your research question and that it comes from a reliable source. Understanding the hierarchy of evidence can help in this process. The hierarchy of evidence ranks studies according to the strength of their design, with randomized controlled trials at the top and expert opinions at the bottom.

Assessing the quality of evidence involves evaluating the study design, sample size, and potential sources of bias. Evaluating the relevance of evidence involves considering how well the study answers your research question and whether the findings can be applied to your clinical setting.

Step 4: Analyzing the Evidence

Organizing and synthesizing the evidence is an important step in writing an evidence-based practice paper. This involves summarizing the key findings of each study and identifying common themes and patterns. Once the evidence has been synthesized, a conclusion can be developed based on the findings.

Step 5: Implementing Changes

Developing an implementation plan is essential in applying the findings of an evidence-based practice paper in clinical settings. This involves identifying key stakeholders, setting goals and timelines, and developing strategies to overcome barriers to implementation.

Identifying barriers to implementation can include factors such as lack of resources, resistance to change, or competing priorities. Strategies for overcoming these barriers can include providing education and training, involving stakeholders in the process, and creating incentives for change.

Step 6: Evaluating Outcomes

Measuring the effectiveness of the implementation is an important step in determining the impact of evidence-based practice in clinical settings. This involves collecting data on the outcomes of the intervention and analyzing the results to determine whether the intervention was successful in achieving its goals.

Analyzing the outcomes involves comparing the results to the baseline data and considering any confounding factors that may have influenced the results. Therefore, reporting the findings is important in disseminating the results of the intervention and demonstrating the impact of evidence-based practice in clinical settings.

Step 7: Disseminating the Findings

Disseminating the findings is an important part of the evidence-based practice process. This involves identifying the target audience, selecting an appropriate dissemination strategy, and considering the ethics of dissemination.

Moreover, selecting a dissemination strategy can involve using social media, presenting at conferences, or publishing in a peer-reviewed journal. Considering the ethics of dissemination involves protecting patient privacy and ensuring that the findings are not misinterpreted or used to support harmful practices.

Tips for Writing an Effective Evidence-Based Practice Paper

To ensure that your evidence-based practice paper is well-written and effective, there are some tips you should keep in mind:

  1. Writing in a concise and clear manner: It is important to write in a clear and concise manner. Avoid using jargon or complex language that could make it difficult for the reader to understand your message. Use short sentences and paragraphs to make your writing easy to follow.
  2. Using proper citation and referencing: To avoid plagiarism and give credit to the sources you used in your research, you should use proper citation and referencing. Also, make sure to follow the citation style specified by your professor or institution.
  3. Formatting the paper appropriately: Your should format your paper according to the guidelines provided by your institution. This includes the use of headings, margins, font size, and spacing. Also, make sure your paper is easy to read and looks professional.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

To ensure the success of your evidence-based practice paper, there are some common pitfalls that you should avoid:

  1. Overgeneralization: Avoid making broad generalizations about your findings or conclusions. Additionally, always make sure that your conclusions are based on the evidence you have collected.
  2. Biased interpretation: Avoid interpreting your evidence in a biased manner. In this case, your conclusions should be based on the evidence you have collected and not on personal biases or assumptions.
  3. Poorly defined research question: Make sure that your research question is well-defined and specific. This will help you collect relevant evidence and make accurate conclusions.


In conclusion, writing an evidence-based practice paper in nursing can be a challenging task. However, by following the steps outlined in this guide and keeping in mind the tips and common pitfalls to avoid, you can ensure that your paper is well-written and effective. It is important to emphasize the importance of evidence-based practice in nursing and to encourage the implementation of evidence-based practices in clinical settings.


  1. What is the difference between a literature review and an evidence-based practice paper?

A literature review is a critical analysis of existing literature on a particular topic. An evidence-based practice paper is a paper that uses the best available evidence to inform practice decisions. While a literature review focuses on summarizing and analyzing existing literature, an evidence-based practice paper uses this literature to inform practice decisions.

  1. How do I know if my evidence is strong enough to support my conclusion?

You should evaluate the quality, relevance, and strength of the evidence you have collected. Look for high-quality studies that have a large sample size and are well-designed. Use critical appraisal tools to evaluate the strength of the evidence.

  1. Do I need to include a methodology section in my evidence-based practice paper?

Yes, you should include a methodology section in your evidence-based practice paper. This section should describe the methods you used to collect and appraise your evidence.

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