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The Research Imperative: Making It Happen

Just as the research important to MLA and its members covers a broad range of interests and concerns, the community of stakeholders is also diverse. Building on Hallam and Partridge's [1] discussion of the responsibilities of library educators, employers, individual professionals, and professional associations in EBLIP, this policy statement views stakeholders broadly. They come from a variety of disciplines and serve as essential partners in advancing the research that underpins the health information sciences knowledgebase and informs best practices. They include individual librarians and informaticians, NLM , graduate schools of library and information science, employers, and other a ssociations and organizations. These stakeholders, with MLA, share interests in information policy, informatics, information practice, information access, delivery, services, and achievement of improved health care through quality information.

Stakeholders can help create a culture or environment in which evidence-based practice can flourish by supporting MLA and the health sciences library and information profession in the following areas:

  • access to a broad range of relevant education and training
  • advice and assistance for librarians embarking on research
  • adequate research funding
  • incentives for collaborative research
  • flexible and supportive employment conditions
  • application of research results to library and information sciences practice
  • recognition of research work

As well as encouraging all stakeholders to communicate and promote MLA's research policy statement and research priorities to all their constituencies, MLA also encourages all stakeholders to play a role in helping to create and maintain this environment. The following are suggested roles for stakeholders to help advance MLA's research imperative.

Individual librarians and informaticians create the foundation on which the profession’s knowledgebase is built. Personal rewards for research initiatives are plentiful and include professional growth, promotion and tenure, collegial recognition, and grant awards. Roles for members include:

  • designing personal learning programs that include improving research skills and skills in critically appraising published research
  • taking advantage of training, funding, and other research support services
  • applying research results to library and information service practice, to the development of information policy, and to other information issues
  • seeking out potential research collaborators in their institutions, other libraries, graduate schools of library and information science, and other organizations
  • devoting professional time to conducting research, to facilitating health information research by others, or to participating in institutional quality or research initiatives
  • disseminating results of critical analyses of research evidence, reports of applying research to practice, information about research in progress, and new research findings
  • having a working knowledge of MLA's research policy statement and research priorities
  • recognizing and encouraging the research activity of colleagues

As the nation’s leading library for the health sciences, NLM has traditionally provided strong leadership for improved information practices and policies for the benefit of the public’s health. In keeping with this tradition, NLM is encouraged to:

  • continue its integration of MLA's research vision and priorities into NLM and NN/LM programs
  • support research skills development among health sciences librarians through NN/LM programs and courses
  • provide funding opportunities for a full range of applied research and outcomes studies

Graduate schools of library and information science are responsible for preparing the future workforce for best practices in an increasingly complex information landscape. EBLIP skills are fundamental to success in this environment for all librarians. Roles for the library and information sciencegraduate school community include:

  • inculcating EBLIP values and skills into all educational programs including formal coursework, continuing education, and internships
  • actively engaging faculty in EBLIP research projects, emphasizing collaborative studies with practicing health sciences librarians

Employers can help ensure best practices in health information in their own institutions and optimal return on these investments by supporting and advancing EBLIP. Roles for employers include:

  • creating and sustaining learning organizations that enable and reward the application of research principles and contributions to the knowledgebase
  • providing opportunities for continuous learning and collaborative research within and outside the institution and multiple channels for reporting research findings
  • developing mentoring programs in evidence-based practice for current staff as well as new professionals and graduate interns

Other associations and organizations share MLA's concern about providing quality health information and health care. Roles for these groups include:

  • advocating for quality information policies and practices
  • contributing perspectives that enrich MLA’s research vision and research priorities
  • maintaining open communication and supporting collaborative activities with MLA and its individual members to achieve common goals 


1. Hallam G, Partridge H. Evidence based library and information practice: whose responsibility is it anyway? Evidence Based Libr Inf Pract 2006;1(3):88–94.

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