Research and Evidence-Based Practice

Evidence-based practice (EBP) and research are the two essential components of the nursing profession that promote quality in a professional setting and identify excellence in the service delivery process. To better understand their roles and contribution, nurses should be able to distinguish between these components. While EBP aims to translate the evidence to apply in practice and use it as a guide in decision-making, the key purpose of research is to generate new knowledge or validate the existing theories.

The creation of knowledge in a nursing research project refers to a specific inquiry to verify hypotheses and investigate a health issue. By applying rigorous methods and a systematic approach, nurses are to explore the philosophy of knowledge (Green, 2014). The research projects should employ the scientific methods of analysis, either qualitative or quantitative, which can also be combined.

To start such a project, it is important to identify the gaps that are present in a particular area of interest. The comprehensive review of the literature is expected to provide the impetus for posing research questions to be answered as a result of the study. Gelling and Engward (2015) state that the selection of the underlying theory, research methods, and data analysis strategies are also integral parts of research. In this case, once data is analyzed and interpreted, the discovery occurs. The final step of research is the publication of results in a scholarly journal, which should also include the contribution of this research to the body of knowledge.

The purpose of a research project as being an evidence-based intervention project is to confirm the existing knowledge to make the best patient care decisions. Unlike research, it does not focus on the generation of new knowledge, yet it involves searching for the most relevant evidence and implementing it in practice (Black, Balneaves, Garossino, Puyat, & Qian, 2015). EBP can include patient preferences and clinical expertise to develop an appropriate intervention.

Likewise a research project, EBP starts with asking a clinical question and collecting the evidence, while the subsequent step is the integration of the selected evidence with patient needs and attitudes, and clinical requirements. The evaluation of the suggested practice change or decision is another characteristic feature that differentiates the EBP from research (Melnyk, Gallagher‐Ford, Long, & Fineout‐Overholt, 2014). The underlying for conducting the EBP projects is the fact that nurses should always cultivate the spirit of inquiry by pondering over the constant improvement of care delivery.

Today, there the phenomenon of EBP is regarded as the most pertinent approach to clinical practice, while research is the preliminary stage that is expected to produce more knowledge. As reported by the American Nurses Association (ANA), 90% of nursing practice is likely to be based on EBP findings (Chrisman, Jordan, Davis, & Williams, 2014). For example, the study by Brown (2014) is the EBP that explores the Iowa Model to promote quality care in oncology nursing. This research project translates available knowledge into practice and provides considerations on its clinical effectiveness. At the same time, another article that creates a new theory or suggests new interventions for practice improvements based on the previous studies and theories refers to a nursing research project.

To conclude, it should be emphasized that both the EBP and research projects are important for the nursing area. A nursing research project is associated with knowledge creation along with its integration with patient views and clinical expertise. The key difference of an evidence-based project is its goal of translating the existing knowledge and implementation in clinical settings. The research projects use the methodology, while the EBP applies the most relevant evidence to make decisions on quality improvement, which is often based on the results of research projects.


Black, A. T., Balneaves, L. G., Garossino, C., Puyat, J. H., & Qian, H. (2015). Promoting evidence-based practice through a research training program for point-of-care clinicians. The Journal of Nursing Administration, 45(1), 14-20.

Brown, C. G. (2014). The Iowa Model of evidence-based practice to promote quality care: An illustrated example in oncology nursing. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 18(2), 157-159.

Chrisman, J., Jordan, R., Davis, C., & Williams, W. (2014). Exploring evidence-based practice research. Nursing Made Incredibly Easy, 12(4), 8-12.

Gelling, L., & Engward, H. (2015). Planning a research project. Nursing Standard (2014+), 29(28), 44-48.

Green, H. E. (2014). Use of theoretical and conceptual frameworks in qualitative research. Nurse Researcher, 21(6), 34-38.

Melnyk, B. M., Gallagher‐Ford, L., Long, L. E., & Fineout‐Overholt, E. (2014). The establishment of evidence‐based practice competencies for practicing registered nurses and advanced practice nurses in real‐world clinical settings: Proficiencies to improve healthcare quality, reliability, patient outcomes, and costs. Worldviews on Evidence‐Based Nursing, 11(1), 5-15.