Making research relevant: if it is an evidence-based practice, where's the practice-based evidence?

Fam Pract. 2008 Dec:25 Suppl 1:i20-4. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmn055. Epub 2008 Sep 15.


The usual search for explanations and solutions for the research-practice gap tends to analyze ways to communicate evidence-based practice guidelines to practitioners more efficiently and effectively from the end of a scientific pipeline. This examination of the pipeline looks upstream for ways in which the research itself is rendered increasingly irrelevant to the circumstances of practice by the process of vetting the research before it can qualify for inclusion in systematic reviews and the practice guidelines derived from them. It suggests a 'fallacy of the pipeline' implicit in one-way conceptualizations of translation, dissemination and delivery of research to practitioners. Secondly, it identifies a 'fallacy of the empty vessel' implicit in the assumptions underlying common characterizations of the practitioner as a recipient of evidence-based guidelines. Remedies are proposed that put emphasis on participatory approaches and more practice-based production of the research and more attention to external validity in the peer review, funding, publication and systematic reviews of research in producing evidence-based guidelines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Bibliographic
  • Evidence-Based Practice*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Peer Review
  • Periodicals as Topic* / standards
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Primary Prevention*
  • Publication Bias
  • Research
  • Review Literature as Topic*
  • Time Factors