The United States of America continues to experience the increasing demand for the improved quality of healthcare services. Research and evidence-based practice are two concepts and approaches that have resulted in excellence in service delivery and promoted quality among healthcare professionals, subsequently helping to provide the best services. However, there exist differences between research and evidence-based practice highlighted herein.
First, research is a methodical and premeditated exploration of a specific problem, which has a predetermined result and further contributes to an understanding of the existent phenomenon in question or the problem under study (Jolley, 2013). On the other hand, evidence-based practice is a methodological examination and assessment of the best evidence to make fundamental decisions that may necessitate changes in the present practice taking into consideration patient’s individual needs (Jolley, 2013). Although the two approaches are systematic, as seen from their definitions, they serve different purposes. Research aims at conducting investigations, the results of which contribute to the existing knowledge (Taber, 2013). In its turn, evidence-based practice aims at searching and evaluating the best evidence, which can be used in clinical practice (Taber, 2013).
Another difference between the two is evident in their endpoints. In research, the conclusion is characterized by outcomes, which are usually specified at the beginning of the study. It may involve a statement highlighting the connection between variables being investigated, explanation or exploration of the present practice, or results generated from testing a particular theory or proving or refuting a particular hypothesis (Jolley, 2013). Such are thereafter used to provide suggestions for further studies on the problem, and draw recommendations or, when applicable, call for changes in practice. On the contrary, EBP ends by making clinical decisions, which may determine a change in the present practice.
Another essential difference is based on the use of evidence. Research pays less attention to the latter that currently exists, but focuses on the one of other research, which helps build up adequate rationalization to necessitate the investigation (Rubin, 2012). On the other hand, EBP relies on an array of evidence, including but not limited to the one arising from individual needs of patients (Rubin, 2012). It focusses on the translation of evidence from research studies and applying this in clinical decision-making. The use of the evidence generated from research studies to make decisions instead of creating it from the research process is thus the fundamental difference between research and EBP.
From the differences discussed above, it is evident that the objectives of research and evidence-based practice are different. For instance, the former may aim at exploring relationships, proving/refuting a hypothesis, as well as developing extrapolative models in various areas. On the other hand, EBP is usually aimed at conducting systematic reviews of evidence, devising strategies to make a change in practice, or comparing the best evidence used in the present practice among others (Jolley, 2013).
A good example of a research study is the one that focusses on examining the dependability of methods used to define nasogastric tube employment. Here, the research is likely to study whether the approaches used are reliable or not and add to the existing knowledge. The research study by Coker-Bolt, Jarrard, Woodard, and Merill (2013) titled “The Effects of Oral Motor Stimulation on Feeding Behaviors of Infants born with Univentricle Anatomy” is a good example of such research. On the other hand, an example of EBP is employing an evidence-based clinical practice recommendation to improve recovery for cancer patients. Another example is using evidence-based practice to raise the level of compliance of patients with a particular chronic disease.
In conclusion, although research and evidence-based practice display different characteristics, they are both fundamentally significant in the administration of quality healthcare. Confusion exists in differentiating the two, but the differences discussed above are the major ones.
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