Using the Web to Connect Research and Practice: Towards a Discipline of Evidence-Based Practice
InSITE 2002 • Volume 2 • 2002
In most disciplines, research findings take a long time to filter into practice, if they ever do at all. The result of this is under-utilisation of research results and sub-optimal practices. There are a number of reasons for the lack of knowledge transfer. Firstly, practitioners don’t have the time to keep up with the latest research%in professional practice, there is little time available to read academic journals. Once they have completed their formal education, they tend to rely on tacit knowledge acquired through experience rather than explicit knowledge in the form of academic research. In addition, the volume and geometric growth of research literature results in a massive problem of information overload%it is not humanly possible for practitioners (and challenging even for full-time researchers) to keep up with all the research published in their field. From the “supply side”, academic research is primarily focused on the production rather than distribution of knowledge%there is little investment in the distribution of research results beyond academic communities. The Internet provides a potential solution to this problem, in that it provides a common information infrastructure for connecting those who produce knowledge (researchers) and those who need tc apply it (practitioners). This paper describes two projects which use the Internet to make research results directly available to practitioners in the workplace. The first is a project in a health department which provides medical staff with on-line access to the latest medical research at the point of care. The second is a project currently in progress to implement a similar system to support IS practitioners. Finally, we draw some general lessons about how to improve transfers of knowledge from research and practice, which could be applied in any discipline.
knowledge management, evidence based medicine (EBM), Internet, World Wide Web, web-based development, IS research, IS practice, education, decision support
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