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Evidence Based Practice and Interpretive Research; Strange Bedfellows? A critique of the implicit bias in the EBP approach

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2 April 2009

Abstract: At present Evidence Based Practice gives priority to research like RCT etc and does not substantially concern itself with interpretive types of research. The problem is that the positivist bias in EBP does not really assist in decision making as the implications of a positivist approach are that ‘if you know the facts then the decisions are laid out before you’ – what this ignores is that clinical decisions are matters of interpretation.

Interpretation is a central and crucial part of the clinical reasoning and the decision making process – so no health workers, even those biased towards the positivistic research emphasis, can ignore interpretive approach either in research, in clinical reasoning /decision making or policy development processes as this all involves interpretation. Thus interpretive research has a place in the clinical reasoning process that follows any data from RCT or whatever is in fashion for EBP.