MLA supports and advances health information research and evidence-based practices in healthcare by improving the research skills and competencies of health information professionals.

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Evidence-Based Practice and Research Competency

A health information professional evaluates research studies, uses research to improve practice, conducts research, and communicates research results.

For many years, we have promoted and taught the skills of evidence-based medicine. Now, we need to apply these skills to our own practice. Not all of us are researchers in the academic sense, but we all have access to a wealth of data from local and published sources. Newer research methodologies—such as community-based action research, outcomes research, and data mining—may be useful in analyzing our activities and impact. As we develop research skills, we can use, create, and share evidence to improve practice.

Performance Indicators

Finds and evaluates evidence to support decision making.Describes evidence-based practice; formulates questions; develops search strategies; locates relevant, credible, and transferable published evidence.Uses evidence to make and justify decisions.
Evaluates activities, programs, collections, and services using evidence-based methodologies.Gathers data and user input on activities and services.Identifies and develops evaluation methods and metrics for assessing and improving services.
Conducts research.Describes the research process, structure of research papers, and common research methods, including bibliometrics; explains standards of ethical research.Selects and implements appropriate research design; collects, manages, and analyzes data; interprets results; explains threats to validity of conclusions.
Interprets data and presents statistical and data analyses.Describes basic statistical and data analysis concepts and terminology; interprets visual displays of data and bibliometric analyses.Explains rationale for choice of statistical and data analyses; critiques and explains statistical and data analyses in published research; uses advanced data visualization tools.
Communicates research results.Describes how research is disseminated; describes issues related to research dissemination.Communicates research results; writes, edits, and revises manuscripts for publication.

The competency above grew from The Research Imperative (2007), in which MLA reaffirmed its commitment to assure the vital presence and continued growth of both individuals and the profession of information research.

The Research Imperative challenged MLA to advance a culture where “analysis and application of a health information research knowledgebase” is commonplace—where health information practitioners, just like their health care practitioner colleagues, use the best available evidence when making a decision.