Evidence based practice is a decision-making framework that helps us to think critically about our services, collections and spaces. Evidence based practice promotes robust decision-making, a client-centred approach to understanding the communities we serve and continually improve our services and library and information professional practice. Evidence-based approaches to our professional practice enables library services to respond to an ever-changing environment, meet client needs and communicate value and impact to stakeholders.

This quick and practical, 30 minute workshop shows how evidence-based practice is part of our everyday work, not just a ‘one off’ activity nor an activity only undertaken by managers or library leaders. The workshop provides an opportunity for participants to explore the evidence-based library and information practice process.

This workshop was initially delivered at the ALIA Queensland Mini Conference that was held in Brisbane, 7th November 2018. I have made the materials and instructions accessible under a Creative Commons license so that library managers can run the workshop within their own teams.

Working in groups, workshop participants consider a range of real life scenarios and the evidence that can help resolve a question, problem or decision. There are four scenarios but of course, you don’t need to work with all of them. For maximum benefit, I recommend 2-4 groups each with between two and six people. To deliver this workshop, you will also need:

  • a facilitator
  • the PowerPoint slides to guide the discussion and activities
  • print outs of the scenarios distributed among groups
  • set up types of evidence on index cards or similar so they can be moved around
  • coloured pens
  • spare pieces of paper for Activity 2

The workshop does not include a report back at the end of Activity 2, but if you have time, you could incorporate this next step to ignite further discussion among your team.

I’m always looking to improve the workshop materials or develop new ones. So if you run this workshop with your team, I would love to hear about you and your team’s experience. Drop me an email, tweet me or complete the online feedback form.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Does this workshop help? Yes!

When I ran this workshop for the first time at the ALIA Queensland Mini Conference 2018, over 60% of workshop participants provided feedback. Of this feedback, 93% said they agreed or strongly agreed that the workshop improved their confidence in applying evidence-based practice to their work.

Key outcomes participants reported include:

  • a broadened view and awareness of the types of evidence that can inform practice
  • that it is okay the process is not neat and linear – it’s messy!
  • the importance of understanding the question, or what you want to find out

As a LIS professional who undertakes research in evidence-based library and information practice and is responsible for building evidence-based practice capacity at my workplace, I was super duper excited by these results. (The boss was happy too 🙂 )


Special thanks goes to my boss, Clare Thorpe and the USQ Library Leadership team for approving to fund my attendance to deliver this workshop.

Further reading and resources

Here are links to references included in the workshop slides: