Evidence-based practice and information literacy

Partridge, Helen L. & Hallam, Gillian C. (2007) Evidence-based practice and information literacy. In Lipu, Suzanne, Williamson, Kirsty, & Lloyd, Annemaree (Eds.) Exploring Methods in Information Literacy Research. Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales.

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Evidence-based Practice (EBP) has recently emerged as a topic of discussion amongst professionals within the library and information services (LIS) industry. Simply stated, EBP is the process of using formal research skills and methods to assist in decision making and establishing best practice. The emerging interest in EBP within the library context serves to remind the library profession that research skills and methods can help ensure that the library industry remains current and relevant in changing times. The LIS sector faces ongoing challenges in terms of the expectation that financial and human resources will be managed efficiently, particularly if library budgets are reduced and accountability to the principal stakeholders is increased. Library managers are charged with the responsibility to deliver relevant and cost effective services, in an environment characterised by rapidly changing models of information provision, information access and user behaviours. Consequently they are called upon not only to justify the services they provide, or plan to introduce, but also to measure the effectiveness of these services and to evaluate the impact on the communities they serve. The imperative for innovation in and enhancements to library practice is accompanied by the need for a strong understanding of the processes of review, measurement, assessment and evaluation.

In 2001 the Centre for Information Research was commissioned by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) in the UK to conduct an examination into the research landscape for library and information science. The examination concluded that research is “important for the LIS [library and information science] domain in a number of ways” (McNicol & Nankivell, 2001, p.77). At the professional level, research can inform practice, assist in the future planning of the profession, raise the profile of the discipline, and indeed the reputation and standing of the library and information service itself. At the personal level, research can “broaden horizons and offer individuals development opportunities” (McNicol & Nankivell, 2001, p.77). The study recommended that “research should be promoted as a valuable professional activity for practitioners to engage in” (McNicol & Nankivell, 2001, p.82).

This chapter will consider the role of EBP within the library profession. A brief review of key literature in the area is provided. The review considers issues of definition and terminology, highlights the importance of research in professional practice and outlines the research approaches that underpin EBP. The chapter concludes with a consideration of the specific application of EBP within the dynamic and evolving field of information literacy (IL).

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 28367
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: evidence based practice, information literacy, library and information science, research in practice
ISBN: 9781876938611
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > LIBRARY AND INFORMATION STUDIES (080700)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Deposited On: 03 Nov 2009 00:18
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2015 16:12

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