Evidence based librarianship

A brief post today since I have lots of other writing to do and not enough time to finish more substantive drafts that have been waiting for weeks now.

I’ve been thinking a lot about EBL as I write my dossier statements, so when I came across the special issue of Evidence Based Librarian and Information Practice this week I took a few minutes to browse through the columns I missed. It was a nice refresher so I thought I would share some of my favorites.

Not sure what EBL is? Check out the background article
Asking the right question is the crucial first step
Evaluating your own work (part 1 & 2) is hard, but necessary
Action research, a type of research most of us do but don’t realize it

EBL is a big part of how I practice in that I try to be very methodical and systematic when I read literature, especially stuff outside librarianship. This helps me to be intentional in how I incorporate outside concepts and practices into my own work. Reading the data management/curation/services literature is less structured in that I often don’t have specific questions to answer, but am generally trying to stay informed about my core area of practice. But when I venture outside the data lit, it pays for me to be fairly specific about what I want/need to know so that I don’t fall down the rabbit hole. For me, the EBL process helps me to reign in the tendency to read all the things by defining the specific knowledge gap that I need to fill to develop a workshop or write an article or provide a good consultation. The second EBL practice that most affects my work is critical appraisal. I use the process when I write evidence summaries, of course, but also when I’m reading and synthesizing the literature and sometimes even when I’m reading my own work. It helps me to turn a critical eye to the substance of my writing, rather than tearing apart my writing style or grammar.

Reflection is another element of EBL for which I’m still trying to figure out a good process. There’s tons of literature there I know, but no time this semester to dig in. Perhaps in the fall.

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By Heather L. Coates

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