McCurtin, Arlene and Roddam, Hazel
Evidence-based practice: SLTs under siege or opportunity for growth? The use and nature of research evidence in the profession.
International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 47
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-6984.2011.00074.x
Background: Speech and language therapists are encouraged to be evidence-based practitioners in contemporary clinical practice. This apparently signifies their commitment to ‘good’ practice. An examination of evidence-based practice (EBP) and its adoption in clinical practice is therefore warranted.
Aims: This paper aims to explore EBP, specifically research evidence, as related to the field of speech and language therapy (SLT), using profession specific and cross-disciplinary examples. It asks the reader to consider whether research evidence contributes positively to SLT practice, or adds to the demands placed on clinicians?
Methods & Procedures: A review of the literature on the nature and use of research evidence in the field of speech and language therapy and related health professions was undertaken using multiple databases (Cochrane, Medline, Cinahal, BioMed, Trip, Dare) and the following up of references provided within texts and articles. This paper asks the reader to consider the topic from the perspective of the nature of research produced, the barriers perceived, and the use of research evidence by SLTs and the allied health professions.
Outcomes & Results: The uptake of research evidence in the profession is similar to other health professions and continues to be problematic. There are multiple reasons why this is so, originating from both the nature and use of research.
Conclusions & Implications: Research evidence is one of the pillars of EBP. Despite problems with the nature and use of such evidence, it has a positive contribution to make to clinical practice as it provides for a scientific touchstone. However, it may be that the speech and language therapist and not the research evidence is the primary pivot upon which scientific practice is based.
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