Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) is an approach to decision-making in various fields, including medicine, nursing, psychology, education, and social work. It involves using the best available research evidence, practitioner expertise, and client values and preferences, to guide decision-making and improve outcomes for individuals and populations. In some models of Evidence-Based Practice, a fourth element of 'practice context' is included (Hoffman, 2017, p. 4 ).
The EBP pyramid depicts the hierarchy of research evidence, based on quality and reliability. The quality of information is highest at the top of the pyramid and decreases as you move down to the base. Use the pyramid to help you decide the best source of evidence that will answer your research question.
Here are the key steps of evidence-based practice. They are often summarised using the '5 As': Ask, Acquire, Appraise, Apply, Assess.
Researchers use different methods and tools to test theories and to collect, analyse and interpret data in the hope of validating existing knowledge, or discovering new information. These research methods are either:
Understanding the application of different research methods, including best practice, to research, can help you choose the best available evidence, translate it and apply it to your practice (part of the EBP process).
Research methods used to explore and understand people's beliefs, experiences, attitudes, behaviour and interactions. It generates descriptive, non-numerical data.
Qualitative research methods include:
Research methods used to generate numerical data or data that can be converted into numbers.
Quantitative research methods include:
A research approach where 'mixed' (quantitative and qualitative) methods are used to collect, analyse and interpret data, within the same study.
Explore Sage Research Methods to enhance your understanding of research methodologies, including:
Learn about methods application and research design, with stories from researchers.
Develop practical skills to successfully complete your research. Coverage includes:
The following resources were used to support the development of this guide: