Are We Bridging the Research Practice Gap?
Senior Lecturer, School of Nursing Midwifery and Social Work
University of Salford
Salford, United Kingdom
2012 Brettle. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons‐Attribution‐Noncommercial‐Share Alike License 2.5 Canada (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/ca/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly attributed, not used for commercial purposes, and, if transformed, the resulting work is redistributed under the same or similar license to this one.
One of the key aims of Evidence Based Library and Information Practice is to bridge the research practice gap and make the findings of LIS research more accessible to library and information practitioners. I’ve therefore been keenly following the UK RiLIEs project (Research in Librarianship – Impact Evaluation Study; http://lisresearch.org/rilies-project/), which has been looking at ways to increase the impact of library related research for practitioners. The project culminated in a resources briefing (http://lisresearch.org/2012/07/10/research-into-practice-lis-research-resources-briefing/) which I attended, and was thrilled to hear the project team report that the journal was one of the most appreciated sources of LIS research for practitioners. My self-congratulation was a little short lived, however, when the next set of findings presented was a range of resources that practitioners had heard of, but had yet to use – and sure enough, EBLIP was among them.
Furthermore, other findings of the project included practitioners reporting a need for accessible summaries of research evidence!! The project team concluded that there was no shortage of research resources available to practitioners, but the challenge was finding the best way to make them available and easily accessible. As an open access journal, therefore, we need to work harder on publicizing the work we do. I’ve thus taken on board the recommendation that “here lies an opportunity for those with responsibility for freely available open access repositories of LIS research materials to raise awareness of their resources amongst the practitioner communities” (Hall, 2012).
It is really important that as a journal we do take this message on board, as we have begun to find that the Evidence Summaries in EBLIP do make a difference. Over the past year, supported by a grant from the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, and led by our Associate Editor for Evidence Summaries, Lorie Kloda, we have been conducting a research project into the impact of Evidence Summaries. The project will be written up in full and the results published elsewhere, but in brief we validated a tool to assess the impact of the summaries on practitioners, used the tool to survey a number of Evidence Summary readers, and followed some of these up with more in-depth interviews. Initial results are promising, and we have found that Evidence Summaries impact on knowledge, individual practice, and more widely in the workplace of Evidence Summary readers. Earlier in the summer, we presented the results at a range of national (Canada and UK) and international conferences (in Europe and the US). Hopefully, these presentations (e.g., http://www.slideshare.net/lkloda/kloda-mla-2012-impact), will begin to further increase the awareness of Evidence Summaries – and perhaps turn some of that awareness into action.
This issue sees a slight change in the Evidence Summaries, as described in Lorie’s editorial at the beginning of the Evidence Summary section. So, if you haven’t read an Evidence Summary before – I challenge you to read one today – and see if it makes a difference to your practice.
Hall, H. (2012). RiLiES report highlights 2: Dissemination strategies for impact. In Library and Information Science Research Coalition. Retrieved 21 Aug. 2012 from http://lisresearch.org/2012/03/21/rilies-report-dissemination-for-impact/
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