Knowings in practice: some insights into evidence-based practice implemented by students

Swedish School of Library and Information Science, University of Borås, Sweden
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Information Research, 2017, 22 (4), pp. 1 - 11
Issue Date:
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Introduction. A final-semester university subject assumes that students use research-based knowledge to solve a real-world information handling problem and, in the process, create new knowledge for themselves and their client organisation. Method. This study analysed the reports of one cohort of students (approx. 40 students) to question these assumptions. Analysis. The types of problem and solution were identified, as were the literature referred to and the evidence used to substantiate the solution. A thematic analysis elicited approaches to justification of the solution and revealed the students’ understandings of their role in creating new knowledge. Results. Students had no difficulty in identifying an organisation’s problem in information handling terms; their solutions were varied and imaginative. They preferred to use electronic sources but no source was used by all or even most students. They justified their solution using a best practice or professional norms approach. Few students reflected on their own new knowledge. Conclusions. Students brought imaginative approaches to common problems, based on solutions found from descriptions or recommendations of good practice. However, neither they nor their clients recognised the origin of the new knowledge which solved the problem and this ‘new knowledge’ from diverse contexts does not flow back into the practical knowledge of the field.
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