Health Information and Libraries Journal, vol. 19, issue 2 (2000) pp. 273-297 Published by Elsevier
OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate how the core characteristics of both evidence-based medicine (EBM) and evidence-based health care (EBHC) can be adapted to health sciences librarianship.
METHOD: Narrative review essay involving development of a conceptual framework. The author describes the central features of EBM and EBHC. Following each description of a central feature, the author then suggests ways that this feature applies to health sciences librarianship.
RESULTS: First, the decision-making processes of EBM and EBHC are compatible with health sciences librarianship. Second, the EBM and EBHC values of favoring rigorously produced scientific evidence in decision making are congruent with the core values of librarianship. Third, the hierarchical levels of evidence can be applied to librarianship with some modifications. Library researchers currently favor descriptive-survey and case-study methods over systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials, or other higher levels of evidence. The library literature nevertheless contains diverse examples of randomized controlled trials, controlled-comparison studies, and cohort studies conducted by health sciences librarians.
CONCLUSIONS: Health sciences librarians are confronted with making many practical decisions. Evidence-based librarianship offers a decision-making framework, which integrates the best available research evidence. By employing this framework and the higher levels of research evidence it promotes, health sciences librarians can lay the foundation for more collaborative and scientific endeavors.
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