Document Type

White Paper

Original Publication Date



This diagram has been used to help nurses and other members of healthcare teams to understand the clinical inquiry process. It has been used as a reference in classes and other workshops related to evidence based practice or other forms of clinical inquiry.

Date of Submission

March 2024


This updated edition of The Clinical Inquiry Process Diagram improves on the 2023 version. It provides a depiction of the steps involved in the clinical inquiry process, covering research, performance improvement, and evidence-based practice. The revisions in this version emphasize the importance of alerting users to the iterative nature of clinical inquiry and the ongoing need to assess the situation or patient based on evolving evidence. It's crucial to recognize that the clinical inquiry process does not follow a linear, sequential progression. Instead, individuals may find themselves concurrently addressing different aspects of the process or revisiting prior steps as they progress. This is influenced by various factors, such as evolving evidence, organizational changes, a patient’s condition, and team dynamics, among others.

Update of The Clinical Inquiry Process Diagram (Version 4) – 2023

Is Part Of

VCU Libraries Faculty and Staff Publications