Skip to main content

Optometry Digital Literacy Toolkit

A toolkit to assist Optometry students with developing personal digital literacy capacity

Introduction to Evidence-Based Practice

This series of modules introduces evidence-based practice.

What is evidence-based practice (EBP)? Well, first let's break down the term using a couple of definitions from the Oxford Dictionary of English:

  • Evidence is defined as "the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid".
  • Practice is defined as "the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method, as opposed to theories relating to it".

Combining these definitions and thinking about practice based on evidence, we begin to move towards a clearer understanding:

  • The “actual application” of “a body of information”, where that information indicates whether relevant propositions are “true or valid”.

However, this definition is incomplete. There is more to evidence-based practice than just evidence.

EBP: More Than Just the Evidence

EBP is more than just thinking about evidence. There are actually four elements to evidence-based practice, and all four need to be considered in forming a decision:

  • the evidence
  • clinical expertise
  • practice context
  • the patient

The book "Evidence-Based Practice Across the Health Professions" is a comprehensive yet easy to understand introduction to EBP. The following image and definition are adapted from its first chapter, and help to clarify the four elements of EBP:



"Evidence-based practice involves using clinical reasoning to integrate information from four sources: research evidence; clinical expertise; the patient's values, preferences and circumstances; and the practice context."

Introduction to evidence-based practice, Hoffmann, Tammy, Evidence-Based Practice Across Health Professions, Chapter 1, 1-15

The Process of Evidence-Based Practice

EBP is about action. It's a method intended to guide clinical decision making. As such, there's a process to follow!

Another name for the process of evidence-based practice is "the Five A's". This diagram, again based on information from "Evidence-Based Practice Across the Health Professions", illustrates the Five A's process.

Click on each of the five steps in the process to learn more about each:

Scenario: Your First Patient


Further Help

The Optometry Digital Literacy Toolkit was developed by Deakin University Library.
Please get in touch if you have any questions or feedback.