evidence-based practice

EBLIP chat: Day 17 – Which comes first – evidence or the question?

#blogjune Day 17: In this video, I tackle one of the EBLIP implementation challenges I have seen in professional practice. A ‘chicken or the egg?’ scenario. Which comes first – the evidence or the question?


G’day and welcome to this video series chatting about all things evidence-based library and information practice. Today I’d like to tackle a challenge that I often see in professional practice with implementing the EBLIP process, and it’s kind of like a ‘chicken or the egg’ scenario. Which comes first – the evidence or the question?

Ways we come into evidence in professional practice

We come into evidence in a variety of different ways in our day to day professional practice. Some of these ways are passive so these are encountering evidence or serendipitous evidence. It may be some feedback from a colleague in the corridor or an observation that you’ve made in a library space.

And then there are those more proactive ways such as engaging with or creating evidence and I think it’s these more passive ways of coming into evidence leads to those more deliberate actions associated with engaging with the EBLIP process. This often happens when we run into a decision that needs to be made or an opportunity to improve a service or practice or simply leading to a question about the way something is done. So when we’re more intentional or deliberate about the EBLIP process the question needs to come before the evidence.

What do you want to find out?

Do these scenarios sound familiar? We have a new service! Let’s do a survey! Or, we have a new library system! Let’s get all the reports! At this point I’d like to invite you to reflect upon the question, what is it that you’d like to find out?

I often see evidence gathering coming before the purpose and the purpose being bit of an afterthought. So after the feedback surveys have been completed and handed in either much of the evidence is discarded when it comes to reporting on that service or program to a key stakeholder. Some times when it doesn’t fit or that the evidence that was gathered is somehow molded and shaped to make it sound like it was fit for purpose. So this I think wastes time and it wastes an opportunity to gather the right and better evidence.

If you consider the question, need or purpose before the evidence gathering happens we can have better or the right evidence on which to inform decision making and service improvement.

Until next time take care. Cheers


Gillespie, A. (2014). Untangling the evidence: introducing an empirical model for evidence-based library and information practice; Information Research, 19(3) paper 632. Retrieved from http://InformationR.net/ir/19-3/paper632.html

Koufogiannakis, D. (2012). Academic Librarians’ Conception and Use of Evidence Sources in Practice. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 7(4), 5-24. https://doi.org/10.18438/B8JC8J


If you have any questions at all about EBLIP, do get in touch. I’ll try to address them in this video series (or a future blog post).

You can also view Day 17 (Evidence or the question?) video here.

Catch up on all the videos here.

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