Friday 12 May 2017

The school research lead and what's the difference between research, evidence-based practice and practitioner inquiry

During a recent #UKEDResChat discussion (Thursday 11 May) an emerging issue was a lack of a shared understanding of the terms research, practice-based inquiry and evidence-based practice.  In order to help try and develop a shared understanding of these terms I have put together the following table - which attempts to draw out the differences between each of the terms.  However, I need to stress that this table is still in the early stages of development and refinement and should be seen as nothing more than a contribution to the discussion.  Accordingly, the table should not be seen as some form of definitive statement of the differences and similarities between research, practitioner inquiry and evidence-based practice.

So here goes

Practice Based Inquiry
Evidence-Based Practice
Research and research methods
Emphasis on experience, practitioner expertise and local knowledge
Emphasis on making the most of ‘best existing’ evidence
Emphasis on generating  data of highest scientific rigor
Focus on practicality of solutions
Focus on plausibility for conclusions
Focus on scientific evidence for basis of conclusions
Focus on internal validity what works in the here and now
Focus on internal and external validity –what works in my context – and  can  research findings be transferred to my context
Focus on internal validity – did X cause Y in my study
Sources of evidence
Based on inter-connected though potentially  incomplete sources of evidence
Based on inter-connected but different sources of evidence
Based on independent samples
Practice based judgement
Evidence-based judgement
Understanding of the unknown
To maintain and improve practice
To improve decision-making
To increase generalizable knowledge

Any comments would be gratefully received