The difference between research and evidence-based practice (EBP) can sometimes be confusing, but the contrast between them is sharp. I think most of the confusion comes because those implementing both processes measure outcomes. Here are differences:
- RESEARCH : The process of research (formulating an answerable question, designing project methods, collecting and analyzing the data, and interpreting themeaning of results) is creating knowledge (AKA creating research evidence). A research project that has been written up IS evidence that can be used in practice. The process of research is guided by the scientific method.
- EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE: EBP is using existing knowledge (AKA using research evidence) in practice. While researchers create new knowledge,
The creation of evidence obviously precedes its application to practice. Something must be made before it can be used. Research obviously precedes the application of research findings to practice. When those findings are applied to practice, then we say the practice is evidence-based.
A good analogy for how research & EBP differ & work together can be seen in autos.
- Designers & factory workers create new cars.
- Drivers use existing cars that they choose according to preferences and best judgments about safety.
CRITICAL THINKING: 1) Why is the common phrase “evidence-based research” unclear? Should you use it? Why or why not? 2) What is a clinical question you now face. (e.g., C.Diff spread; nurse morale on your unit; managing neuropathic pain) and think about how the Stetler EBP model at http://www.nccmt.ca/registry/resource/pdf/83.pdf might help. Because you will be measuring outcomes, then why is this still considered EBP.