This is the "The 6S Pyramid" page of the "Resources for Evidence-Based Practice" guide.
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Resources for Evidence-Based Practice  

Last Updated: May 13, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

The 6S Pyramid Print Page

About This Page

The resources found in the 6S Pyramid contain evidence that will help you answer foreground questions (queries that bring together multiple concepts related to a specific clinical situation or research topic).

Six S Pyramid

The 6S pyramid is arranged in a hierarchy, with the different levels outlined and colour-coded to the right of this page

Use the concepts identified in your PICO or PS Question (found in the Forming Questions tab) to come up with approriate search terms, remembering:

  • A piece of evidence's ability to guide clinical action increases as you move up the pyramid.
  • Topics become more specific as you move down the pyramid.

More Tips

  • Watch HSL's Database Fundamentals Tutorial to learn the basics of effective and efficient searching.
  • Visit the Background Information tab for answers to more general questions (e.g. Terminology, Drug Info, etc.) 
  • Visit the About EBP tab for a more detailed description of the concepts underlying Evidence-Based Practice

Off-Campus Access

LibAccess logo

The small lock icon LibAccess lock icon beside a link indicates this is an online library resource. You have to login to LibAccess when off-campus to access the full-text articles and videos. When you click on the resource link from off-campus you'll be redirected to a login page. 

Grey Literature

Additional Information Sources

Citing Sources



Integrating information from the lower levels of the hiearchy with individual patient records, systems represent the ideal source of evidence for clinical decision-making. 


Summaries are regularly updated clinical guidelines or textbooks that integrate evidence-based information about specific clinical problems.

Synopses of Syntheses

Synopses of syntheses, summarize the information found in systematic reviews.  By drawing conclusions from evidence at lower levels of the pyramid, these synopses often provide sufficient information to support clinical action.


Commonly referred to as a systematic review, a synthesis is a comprehensive summary of all the evidence surrounding a specific research question.    

Synopses of Single Studies

Synopses of single studies summarize evidence from high-quality studies.   The following evidence-based abstract journals are the best place to find this type of information:

Single Studies

Studies represent unique research conducted to answer specific clincial questions.


Meta-Searches search for evidence across multiple resources.  These tools return information from all levels of the pyramid:

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