Research Methods & the Use
Of Evidence in Professional
Sarah J. Clegg UO671752
Name Sarah J. Clegg
Course HHH1207 Research methods and the Use of Evidence in Professional Practice. (BSc Hons Professional Studies) Date February 2011
Introduction (About 1,000 words)
An awareness of resources for evidence based practice is demonstrated. An explanation of the rationale for the choice of the topic is clearly presented. Evidence-based practice must lend credence to the evolution of research; a phenomenon that has formed the basis for acquiring knowledge and information. In the dynamic world that we live in, there is an urgent need for not only timely information but also for accurate and reliable information. Therefore, as Besley (2009) states the most exciting aspect of research is that it has been able to satisfy the urgent need of this accurate and reliable knowledge by the stakeholders in the medical field. In turn, this knowledge has led to the innovation of procedures and treatments that have made clinical practice safe and efficient. According to Besley (2009), innumerable research studies have been carried out over the last decade in the field of medicine ranging from experiments, observational studies as well as logical arguments from traditionally accepted postulate with an aim of improving the practice of medical professionals. In essence, research deals with the collection of data and then collating the raw information in order to make sense of it. It is from this collated data that inferences and recommendations are made that influence policy and practice. It is thus worth noting at this point in time that research forms an integral part in any clinical practice. Research studies which contain published results of different studies; include mainly journals of reputable medical institutions. Secondly, there are clinical practice guidelines that contain standardized procedures that guide health practitioners on how to provide appropriate care to the patients. Normally, clinical practice guidelines are produced by reputable authorities, such as the World Health Organization, and are based on the most current and relevant research. In most cases, research findings may be too long and unpublishable. For such cases, structured abstracts and evidence summaries have been used the best available results (Besley, 2009). Furthermore, other resources for evidence based practice are the systematic reviews and meta-analysis. In systematic reviews, different research studies are critically analysed and reviewed on the basis of their methodologies, results and relevance. In meta-analysis on the other hand, results from research are combined together for making inferences. The last resource for evidence based practice is meta-search engines which draws materials from updated online sources (Besley, 2009). Having considered research in general as well as a preview of evidence based practice and the different resources for this practice, it is necessary to also consider other aspects of research. Firstly is reliability. In research, reliability is used to refer to the degree to which a study instrument can yield consistent data after numerous trials have been carried out (Silverman, 2006). This is always influenced by random error which is a deviation from accuracy due to factors that may not have been addressed effectively. In a randomised controlled trial for instance; the results within the intervention and control groups must be consistent throughout for the test to be considered reliable. However, an error may occur if there was a bias in selecting subjects and assigning treatment to them (Hulley et al., 2007). Another important aspect is validity. Hulley et al. (2007) have defined validity as “simply the ability to distinguish who has and who does not have the disease in question and this is based...
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