Making Better Decisions: Incorporating Evidence into your Practice Denise Koufogiannakis University of Alberta Libraries OLA Superconference -- February 1, 2008
What is EBL? “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
History 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
Ask 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)
The Well-Built Question • 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
Your Question Among first year university students, does small group instruction in a computer lab, versus lecture style instruction, result in improved information literacy skills?
Acquire What type of question are you asking? • Domains – ie: Collections, Education, Reference, etc. Search for an answer
Appraise • 3 main aspects • Validity • Reliability • Applicability • Critical appraisal tools
Apply • Directly applicable • Needs to be locally validated • Improves understanding
Assess • Determine impact • Evaluate the process • What improved? What did you learn?
Challenges • 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
How can I make my practice more evidence-based? • 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
How can I make my practice more evidence-based? • 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. Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton