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Clear and present questions: formulating questions for evidence based practice

Andrew Booth (School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 1 July 2006




The paper seeks to provide an overview and update of thinking in relation to the theory and practice of formulation of answerable research questions within evidence based information practice.


The paper reviews the healthcare and information literature on question formulation, augmented by structured and purposive internet searches.


Although a few key authors have published extensively on all aspects of the evidence‐based information practice process, including question formulation, there is little in the way of empirical research.

Research limitations/implications

In the absence of an empirical research base from within the specific domain of information practice, this conceptual paper extrapolates findings from healthcare research to general librarianship.

Practical implications

This article models the process of question formulation using a proposed conceptual framework (SPICE) and encourages practitioners to identify their own practice‐based questions.


This is the first article specifically to address question formulation for a general (i.e. non‐health) library audience.



Booth, A. (2006), "Clear and present questions: formulating questions for evidence based practice", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 355-368.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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