Making better decisions incorporating evidence into your practice
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Making Better Decisions: Incorporating Evidence into your Practice Denise Koufogiannakis University of Alberta Libraries OLA Superconference -- February 1, 2008 What is EBL?

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Making better decisions incorporating evidence into your practice l.jpg

Making Better Decisions: Incorporating Evidence into your Practice

Denise Koufogiannakis

University of Alberta Libraries

OLA Superconference -- February 1, 2008


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What is EBL? Practice

“Evidence-Based Librarianship (EBL) is an approach to information science that promotes the collection, interpretation and integration of valid, important and applicable user-reported, librarian observed, and research-derived evidence. The best available evidence, moderated by user needs and preferences, is applied to improve the quality of professional judgements”.

A. Booth



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History Practice

1995 – M. Haines –Evidence-based Purchasing – “evidence based information practice”

1997 - Article in Hypothesis, Research Section of MLA

  • - MLA/CHLA, Vancouver; ICML, London; LIANZA, New Zealand

    2000 – conceptual framework devised – applied to health sciences librarianship

  • - First EBL Conference, Sheffield, UK

  • - Collaborative articles begin to appear

  • - 2nd EBL Conference, Edmonton, Canada

  • - Evidence Based Practice for Information Professionals book (March)

  • - 3rd conference, Australia

    2005 – EBLIG group of CLA formed

    2006 - Evidence Based Library and Information Practice journal founded

    2007 – 4th conference, USA – now called EBLIP


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EB Process Practice


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Ask Practice

Should I teach students in lecture style or hands-on with small groups this fall?


To be able to ask a question clearly is two thirds of the way to getting it answered john ruskin l.jpg

Practice To be able to ask a question clearly is two-thirds of the way to getting it answered” (John Ruskin)


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The Well-Built Question Practice

  • Setting – in what context are you addressing the question

    • University

  • Perspective – who are the users/potential users of the service

    • First year students

  • Intervention – what is being done to them/for them

    • small group instruction in a computer lab

  • Comparison – what are your alternatives

    • lecture style

  • Evaluation – how will you measure whether the intervention succeeded

    • improved information literacy skills


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Your Question Practice

Among first year university students, does small group instruction in a computer lab, versus lecture style instruction, result in improved information literacy skills?


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Acquire Practice

What type of question are you asking?

  • Domains – ie: Collections, Education, Reference, etc.

    Search for an answer


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Appraise Practice

  • 3 main aspects

    • Validity

    • Reliability

    • Applicability

  • Critical appraisal tools


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Apply Practice

  • Directly applicable

  • Needs to be locally validated

  • Improves understanding


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Assess Practice

  • Determine impact

  • Evaluate the process

  • What improved? What did you learn?


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EB Process Practice


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Challenges Practice

  • Quality of the evidence - what is the knowledge base?

  • Dispersion of evidence sources (e.g. education,

    management, marketing, computer science, other)

  • Skills in conducting research

  • Skills in disseminating research

  • Skills in interpreting research

  • Time




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Cycle Practice


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Implementation Practice


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core Practice Implementation


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core Practice Example


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innovative Practice Implementation


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innovative Practice Example: Patron’s Choice


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How can I make my practice more evidence-based? Practice

  • Remember – it’s not all or nothing – start small

  • When you have a problem, consult the research literature

  • When there is no solution found in pre-existing literature, do the research, and share it with others


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How can I make my practice more evidence-based? Practice

  • Start a discussion group to talk about issues and solutions / best practices

  • Ask your colleagues what they are basing their decisions on – question current practices

  • Managers: encourage research as part of everyday practice


Wisdom means acting with knowledge while doubting what you know l.jpg

Wisdom means acting with knowledge while doubting what you know.

Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton


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