JCPSLP Vol 18 No. 1Mar 2016

What’s the evidence?

Tips for accessing evidence from research Sue McAllister

E vidence-based practice (EBP), knowledge, and skills are integrated throughout speech pathology programs’ curricula, with students learning how to critically review and integrate evidence from three sources into their clinical reasoning processes: research; clinical practice; perspective of the service recipient(s). We know from the literature that accessing research evidence is commonly cited as a major hurdle for speech pathologists implementing EBP after graduation. Here are some resources that can be used to access evidence from research. Research evidence can be accessed in several formats: • multiple articles appraised for quality and synthesised into systematic reviews, clinical guidelines, or critically appraised topics (CATs); • single articles appraised for quality (critically appraised papers or CAPs); • original articles. The list below provides some options to access full text for CATs, CAPs, and research articles. Synthesised evidence • Communication trust – what works: database of evidenced interventions to support children’s speech, language, and communication: http://www. • The National Guideline Clearinghouse: database of evidence-based guidelines with a search function to allow for communication or dysphagia guidelines to be located: • The Cochrane Library: the “gold standard” for systematic reviews with a search function to allow for communication or dysphagia systematic reviews to be located: • ASHA evidence-based systematic reviews: a number of these have full text available: members/ebp/EBSRs.htm • ASHA evidence maps: an excellent resource that provides layers of maps in various areas of practice, allowing you to select specific topics, and leading to a list of evidence-based summary statements: http:// Single articles appraised for quality • SpeechBite: this resource provides a searchable database of peer-reviewed papers with links to the article abstract as well as good information on EBP and training on how to evaluate quality of papers: http://

• National Electronic Library for Health: identifies articles that meet appropriate standards of evidence: https:// A new service was established in 2015 and will provide further information over time: Original articles The following databases are accessible to the public and can be searched for relevant articles: • ERIC (Education Resources Information Centre): http:// • PubMed: • TRIP (Translating Evidence Into Practice): http://www. • Listing of other publicly searchable databases: http:// Accessing the full text of original research articles can be challenging at times. Here are some options. First, university alumni can often access a good range of ejournals for an annual fee – check with your university. Second, if you are an employee in a large organisation, it is likely that there is a librarian within your organisation who can order a full text of an article. There may also be access to full-text ejournals, databases, and ebooks. Third, publicly accessible databases such as ERIC (education) and PubMed (health) include some free full-text articles, which can be identified through searching. In fact, more and more funding bodies are now requiring that research be published in full-text online journals so more papers will become available over time. Fourth, in some states and territories your public library will do a “document delivery” order for you to get in copies of journal articles you want. Fifth, you can also contact study authors directly to request a copy of the manuscript. Publishers generally allow authors to distribute copies of their articles for educational purposes. Furthermore, many authors now upload freely available pre-publication versions of their manuscripts on online research networks (e.g., or via their universities’ academic commons (e.g., http://

Sue McAllister

Correspondence to: Associate Professor Sue McAllister Speech Pathology Flinders University, South Australia phone: +61 8 7221 8823 email:


JCPSLP Volume 18, Number 1 2016

Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology

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