The experience of evidence-based practice in an Australian public library: an ethnography

Gillespie, Ann and Partridge, Helen and Bruce, Christine and Howlett, Alisa (2016) The experience of evidence-based practice in an Australian public library: an ethnography. Information Research: An International Electronic Journal, 21 (4).

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Introduction. This paper presents the findings from a project that investigated the lived experiences of library and information professionals in relation to evidence-based practice within an Australian public library.

Method. The project employed ethnography, which allows holistic description of people's experiences within a particular community or cultural setting. A member of the research team visited a public library regularly over a six month period. Data collection comprised interviews, observation and document analysis. A field journal was also maintained where daily activities and interactions were recorded.

Analysis. Ethnography involves many levels of iterative analysis. Data extracts were identified, grouped and further refined whilst maintaining the context of the whole experience of the culture.

Results. Evidence-based practice is experienced in the library through four interconnected and interdependent cultural orientations: (i) culture of valuing; (ii) culture of being; (iii) culture of learning; and (iv) culture of leading. These orientations represent not only how evidence-based practice is experienced in the library but also how it has been enabled.

Conclusions. Context or environment is significant in terms of library and information service professionals’ understanding of evidence-based practice. Evidence-based practice can be beneficial to all such professionals, as it builds professional knowledge and deeper understandings of practice at all levels of professional experience.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: This article is open access and found at:
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Division of Academic Services - No Department
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2017 04:54
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2017 05:22
Uncontrolled Keywords: evidence based library and information practice, evidence based practice, public libraries, qualitative research, ethnography, research in practice, library and information studies
Fields of Research : 08 Information and Computing Sciences > 0807 Library and Information Studies > 080706 Librarianship
Socio-Economic Objective: B Economic Development > 89 Information and Communication Services > 8903 Information Services > 890302 Library and Archival Services
Funding Details:

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