Building research capacity in speech and language therapy – Part 3 (Resources for EBP)

I almost forgot I was going to do what I’m about to do as I was originally intending to include this information in Part 2.But as that got a bit too long it probably works out quite well as a post on its own.

Tis truly a plentiful bounty of EBP resourcesI’ll also just preface the main point of this post with a pertinent account of a brief exchange I had with two students in my clinical education tutorial group today while we were waiting for the remaining members of the group to join us.We got to talking about despite it being the first day of term following the 4 week Easter vacation, Mondays just have this habit of making you feel like you’ve not had a break for ages – especially when you’ve just come out of a two-hour class on Research Methods (the students, not myself).This led one student to comment something along the lines of “and I’m not really sure what we’re ever going to use research methods for anyway” to which the other paused then replied something like “well probably for our dissertation but after that I don’t really know“. So, resisting the temptation to let my head drop to the table, as after all they are only in the second year of their four-year course (and they will get more modules which draw out aspects of this later on), I took the opportunity to suggest how such skills should be useful in carrying out Evidence Based Practice, which, is also what I am attempting to instill in them at this stage by asking them to develop therapy tasks based on evidence and citing this evidence in their written therapy plans. I don’t want to go into this in any more detail but I think it raises an interesting issue from a clinical education point of view in that we may be thinking we are instilling principles of evidence based practice but do students appreciate this at the time in that particular stage of their development in becoming SLTs?

And with that:

I’m just basically going to provide a list of resources that SLTs (and other Allied Health Professionals) may find helpful in their quest to implement Evidence Based Practice, or dare I say it, have a go at some research.Some will probably only be relevant/accessible by UK SLTs but most should be useful for others too.

If you are reading this and know of something else to add to the list, please feel free to add a comment so it can be shared with everyone :D

Evidence Based Practice & Critical Appraisal

A natural first stop for all things EBP would be the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine (CEBM) based at the University of Oxford. Particularly useful are the pages presenting tools for critical appraisal and finding the evidence and there’s also a page explaining what is meant by levels of evidence. But there’s literally (or metaphorically?) a shed load of useful information and resources here.

The NSW Speech Pathology Evidence Based Practice website also presents a nice overview of EBP in relation SLT with pages for ‘current clinical questions‘ in addition to sections on critical appraisal and much more.

The Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) also have useful information about critical appraisal and some super tools for appraising various study designs (unfortunately they seem to be moving websites so it’s difficult to track down exaclty where these are located at the time of writing!). However, there are other equally useful critical appraisal tools available from Cardiff University which includes some of the original CASP tools and some adapted versions. Glasgow University also has some checklist tools.

Although I’ve presented quite a few different critical appraisal tools, they essentially all do the same job:offering a structured approach to think about what you are reading.It’s just a case of finding one that you feel to be most useful and there are none that are inherently better/more effective or worse/less effective.


For those who are also still inclined to read in paper format there are several books presenting EBP discussion from a general health perspective in addition to an SLT specific focus.Here are just a few to get you started:

Greenhalgh, T. (2010). How to read a paper: the basics of evidence based medicine (4th Edition). Wiley-Blackwell.

– Very readable overview of EBP and in particular critical appraisal- don’t be put of by the word ‘medicine’ in the title

Reilly, S., Douglas, J., & Oates, J. (Eds) (2003).Evidence Based Practice in Speech Pathology. Wiley-Blackwell.

Introduces the basic principles of EBP from a SLT perspective

Roddam, H., Skeat, J. (Eds) (2010) Embedding Evidence-Based Practice in Speech and Language Therapy:International Examples.Wiley.

Presents an overview and case studies of how SLTs have successfully implemented EBP


Lof, G. L. (2011).Science-based practice and the speech-language pathologist. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 13(3), 189-196.

– Discusses how SLT can incorporate scientific methods to gather Practice Based Evidence (PBE)

McCluskey, A., & Cusick, A. (2002).Strategies for introducing evidence-based practice and changing clinician behaviour: A manager’s toolbox. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 49, 63-70.

-OT source but ideas still relevant to Allied Health in general

Metcalfe, C., et al (2001).Barriers to Implementing the Evidence Base in Four NHS Therapies. Physiotherapy, 87(8), 433-441.

– Presents results of a survey investigates attitudes towards research and using EBP with dieticians, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, and speech and language therapy

Searching for evidence/information:

Are you (rightly) sceptical of the reliability of information retrieved via Google?Why not try Google Scholar? This is basically exactly the same as Google but only searches information from (supposedly) reliable sources (i.e. websites ending with, .edu, .gov, and so on). This can also be useful in getting hold of some articles which may be otherwise difficult to obtain as a number of universities hold pre-publication versions of articles in repositories – so just enter the exact title of what you want and you may find a handy link to an open access pdf or word document.

Another tool to help develop judicious internet information searching skills comes from Virtual Training Suites who present internet tutorials to develop these skills.There’s even a tutorial specific to allied health.These are primarily targeted towards students but when do we ever stop learning and being students?

speechBITEis also an extremely useful tool developed by The University of Sydney along with Speech Pathology Australia which presents a database of the Evidence in SLT with a great filter system to help you find exactly what you want.

For those working in the NHS (UK) you can also access NHS Evidence (some sections also open access) and can apply for an Athens account to allow you to access journal content. You may also find that you can make use of your NHS librarians to help track down content (that’s what they can be used for) and you may also be able to make use of library facilities at your local University or other education institutions.


If thinking about research a useful place to start may be the Research Flowchart from RDinfo which outlines the major stages and sub-components of thinking about and carrying out research.The RDDirect homepage also serves as a signposting service to a variety of other useful information.

The NHS National Research Ethics website also have a huge amount of information (not solely about ethics). A particularly useful page is Is your project research?’ which includes a pdf on defining research (i.e. where you need to obtain ethical approval) in comparison to audit and service evaluation (i.e. where you don’t need to obtain ethical approval)

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network also provides a huge amount of information about the research process. Possibly more for people thinking about conducting ‘larger’ research projects but potential to access support for project planning, set up, and delivery


The Allied Health Professions Research Network also offers various services to researchers. While the website is currently being updated, I understand they will offer advice and support in research design, arranging peer review of study protocols, and so on. They have also published this useful guide:

Moore, A., & Lyon, P. (Eds) (2009).Getting involved in research: A pocket guide. Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

– and you can also download a couple of free chapters from their website.

Well I’m sure I could keep going and going but I think that’s enough to get started but really any basic internet or amazon search for ‘Evidence Based Practice’ will yield a plethora of results – but of course you don’t need a plethora of sources of information, just a few really good ones will do.


About chrissp1980
Currently a lecturer in speech pathology in North Queensland, Australia. I'm lecturing in acquired disorders of speech and language and also attempting to enthuse students in conducting clinically-relevant projects using principles of Evidence-Based Practice. Wish me luck!

One Response to Building research capacity in speech and language therapy – Part 3 (Resources for EBP)

  1. Wow Chris, some great stuff there. Very timely for yours truly. Thanks.

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