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What Is Evidence Based Practice

By jameshpym Nov 19, 2008 589 Words
What is meant by the phrase ‘Evidence Based Practice’?

Evidence-based practice can be described as “a framework of decisions that are made from previous knowledge that are derived from previous research” (University of Westminster, 2008). Evidence-based practice allows the practitioner to apply their knowledge to a situation that has been previously researched to allow them to make a well informed decision about future action(s). It has been used widely in the health care system for some years to perform everyday medical procedures to very good affect. However in more recent years there has been a number of reports looking at its worth in education. In fact, Hammersley cited Hargreaves by saying “the effectiveness of teaching in schools would be substantially improved if it were a researched-based profession.” (Hammersley, 2007, Page 19). This suggests that education has some way to go to come in line with the medical profession and really develop its knowledge of Evidence-based practice.

Davies (1999) suggests that ‘Evidence-based education’ operates on two levels, the first being: “to utilise existing evidence from worldwide research and literature on education and related subjects” the second: “ to establish sound evidence where existing evidence is lacking or of questionable, uncertain, or weak nature” (page 109)

Evidence-based practice tries to specify the way in which professionals make decisions by identifying evidence that they may need to complete the task in hand in relation to how scientifically sound it may be. Evidence-based practice can help to reduce risk from a practice or an activity as a known outcome is already in place. Evidence-based practice can be used as a marketing tool for a concept or an idea to other professionals/students or pupil’s alike as it is has educational value which has already shown development and success rather than purely a subjective view.

Davies (1999) makes an assumption that educationalists at all levels need to be able to: •Pose an answerable question about education;
Know where and how to find evidence systematically and comprehensively using electronic (computer based) and non electronic (print media); •Retrieve and read such evidence competently and undertake critical appraisal and analysis of that evidence according to agreed professional and scientific standards; •Organise and grade the power of this evidence; and

Determine its relevance to their educational needs and environments. (Davies 1999, page 109)

Evidence-based practice is a tool that is used to make normal everyday practice more professional as it is backed by research and reliability. It allows individuals to approach agendas with more confidence. According to Davies 1999, page 109, he believes that moving towards a evidence based teaching programme it would make education less vulnerable to “political ideology, conventional wisdom, folklore and wishful thinking”, not to mention “trendy teaching methods based on activity-based , student centred, self directed learning and problem solving.” Hargreaves (1997) is less concerned with this thought process and more interested with the idea “whatever work” (cited Brusling, 2005 page 89).


Brusling C (2006)Evidence-based practice in teaching and teacher education Centre for the Study of Professions, Oslo University College, Norway. Downloaded 8th October 2008.

Davies, P (1999)What is evidence-based teaching? British Journal of Educational Studies, Vol. 47, No 2, pg 108-121

Hammersley, M (1997)Educational research and teaching: a response to David Hargreaves’s TTA lecture. British Educational Research Journal, Vol. 23, No 2, pg 141-161

Hammersley, M (2007)Educational Research and Evidence-Based Practice The Open University, Sage Publications London

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