Professional development in evidence-based practice: course survey results to inform administrative decision making

Deborah L. Lauseng, Carmen Howard, Emily M. Johnson


Objective: To understand librarians’ evidence-based practice (EBP) professional development needs and assist library administrators with professional development decisions in their own institutions, the study team surveyed past participants of an EBP online course. This study aimed to (1) understand what course content participants found valuable, (2) discover how participants applied their course learning to their work, and (3) identify which aspects of EBP would be beneficial for future continuing education.

Methods: The study team distributed an eighteen-question survey to past participants of the course (2011–2017). The survey covered nontraditional demographic information, course evaluations, course content applications to participants’ work, additional EBP training, and EBP topics for future CE opportunities. The study team analyzed the results using descriptive statistics.

Results: Twenty-nine percent of course participants, representing different library environments, responded to the survey. Eighty-five percent of respondents indicated that they had prior EBP training. The most valuable topics were searching the literature (62%) and developing a problem, intervention, comparison, outcome (PICO) question (59%). Critical appraisal was highly rated for further professional development. Fifty-three percent indicated change in their work efforts after participating in the course. Ninety-seven percent noted interest in further EBP continuing education.

Conclusions: Survey respondents found value in both familiar and unfamiliar EBP topics, which supported the idea of using professional development for learning new concepts and reinforcing existing knowledge and skills. When given the opportunity to engage in these activities, librarians can experience new or expanded EBP work roles and responsibilities. Additionally, the results provide library administrators insights into the benefit of EBP professional development.


Professional Development; Evidence-Based Practice; Online Course; Librarians; Library Administrators

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