evidence-based practice

EBLIP chat: Day 23 – Purposes of evidence

#blogjune Day 23: I tend to come across three different ways to think about, or purposes of evidence in my work as a facilitator and enabler of evidence-based library and information practice. This is both at my workplace, as well as conversations I have with other LIS professionals. I outline these purposes of evidence and why it is important to get on the same page when we have conversations about evidence and evidence-based practice.


G’day and welcome to this video series chatting about evidence-based library information practice. In this video I’m talking about purposes of evidence. We engage in the evidence-based practice process for different reasons, at different times and so I think it’s important to distinguish between three that I have found in professional practice and in my conversations across library areas and also with other library professionals.

Purposes of evidence and EBP

The organisational lens or model as a way of a whole library could be evidence based I think represents just one purpose of evidence and that’s that strategic level. There are another two others, one is operational. This is evidence-based practice for making decisions around workload, rostering, availability for consultations etc and this is where a lot of the activity and business stats tend to get collected. And then we have those instances where they’re one-off, stand-alone, or out of curiosity. A question about professional practice, the way things done or just a trend that you’ve observed and wish to investigate a little further.

The challenge as EBP facilitator

This is one of the challenges that I think I have in my role. I might have a conversation with a manager and they’re thinking around operational purposes of the evidence gathering and the reports that they might like to have. I might be talking at a more strategic level and how we can use different data and evidence to demonstrate value and impact.

Evidence for communication

All three purposes and the evidence derived through those processes could be used for developing stories around value and impact. It’s important here to understand the audience. So what does the stakeholder need to know about your service and then tailor that that message accordingly or bring in the types of evidence that they might be looking for.

Where a stakeholder wants to see impact and value the number of titles you have in the collection or the number of queries you had last month is not going to cut it. Stats are not measures. And so you may need to combine this evidence with another dataset whether that be quantitative or qualitative to develop that story of the value and impact that that service has brought to the community or clients.

EBP conversations made tricky

It can be tricky to think about or distinguish between the operational and strategic. But it’s important I think to get on the same page when we’re having these conversations.

I hope this has been useful for evidence-based practice conversations either internally or externally.  Until next time, take care. Cheers


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 23 (Purposes of evidence) video here.

Catch up on all the videos here.

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