Evidence-based practice (EBP) principles are being adopted by many professions, including: medicine; nursing; social work; and education.
The EBP model is built on five steps.
Ask: Formulate an answerable question
Acquire: Use information resources to search for evidence
Appraise: Evaluate the evidence in terms of its validity, impact, and applicability to your question
Apply: Use the best evidence for your situation, in alignment with local values and your professional expertise
Assess: Evaluate the effectiveness of the application
Generally speaking, the realibility and value placed on different types of information according to an EBP paradigm will be ranked thus, with 1 being the most reliable and 6 the least.
Systematic reviews and meta-analyses
Randomized controlled studies
Ideas and opinions
As you work your way from less- to more-reliable, you will notice that the size of data sets and the evaluations and comparisons within them increase. A meta-analysis will study hundreds or thousands of individual cases, which allows for overarching trends to emerge. Individual case studies may not always enable the researcher to determine which characteristics are typical of similar cases and which characteristics pertain only to that particular case.