Evidence-based practice in the context of health professional education

Malcolm Boyle

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The evidence-based medicine paradigm came to prominence in the early 1990s with a medical group in Ontario, Canada, using scientific evidence to support history taking, physical assessment and diagnostic tests in the patient management decision process. There are two main approaches to research: (1) quantitative studies, which use numerical analysis of the results, and (2) qualitative studies, which attempt to understand more about the events, situations, cultures and experiences that affect a person. For quantitative studies there is a hierarchical level of scientific evidence, with the systematic review and meta-analysis at the top followed by the randomised controlled trial, cohort study, case-control study, cross-sectional study, case series and case study. For the qualitative studies there are various methods for obtaining the data; these include the phenomenology, ethnography, grounded theory, and case study. There are also studies that use a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, referred to as mixed methods. The data collection process varies for different studies, from a data collection form to direct observation, one-on-one interviews and focus groups. There are issues within the study that may affect the study outcomes, including bias, confounding and blinding. This chapter provides an overview of evidence-based practice, where the paradigm emanated from, and some of the different study types for both quantitative and qualitative methods. We also discuss how evidence-based practice provides the basis for evidence-based education for the health-related professions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEvidence-Based Education in the Health Professions
Subtitle of host publicationPromoting Best Practice in the Learning and Teaching of Students
EditorsTed Brown, Brett Williams
Place of PublicationLondon UK
PublisherRadcliffe Publishing Ltd
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9781909368712
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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