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Finding Evidence for CSD Practice

What is Evidence Based Practice?

"The term evidence-based practice refers to an approach in which current, high-quality research evidence is integrated with practitioner expertise and client preferences and values into the process of making clinical decisions."
- ASHA Position Statement: Evidence-Based Practice in Communication Disorders

This guide is intended to help you find evidence for your projects and research papers at the Institute. If you have additional questions, please Ask a Librarian for further assistance.

Search Tips for CSD

Research Ven Diagram

Tips for Searching

  • If you use too many search terms, you may miss some relevant articles. Likewise, if you use too few search terms, you will have too many results to look through. Start with two search terms derived from your topic, then add additional terms according to your needs.
  • The search terms that you use and how you use them may depend on what database you are searching.
  • Use filters or limits whenever possible to restrict your search results by facets like publication year, article type, or age group of the study subjects.
  • Some concepts may be known by more than one term. Brainstorm all of the possible terms for the topic/concept that you are researching so that you can use them as search terms.
  • Use the boolean operators--AND, OR, NOT--to effectively combine concepts and maximize your results. Similarly, use parentheses ( ) and quotation marks " " to make your search results more exact.
    • "disorder" AND ("reading" OR "writing")
  • Look at the reference lists of the best articles you find for additional articles that may not have shown up in your search but are relevant to your topic.
  • Google like a boss.

Patient Image     Lab Image

Primary Sources

In the health and social sciences, most often a primary source is a report of the results of an experiment or research study.  The most common source format these take are published articles found in scholarly journals or conference papers.

Why Choose Primary Sources

Primary Sources represent the best evidence to support an argument.  When you examine a primary source, you get to see all of the relevant information about the study as well as the authors' interpretation of the results of that study.  You can then come to your own conclusions about the significance, relevance, and meaning of those results as they apply to your topics of interest.  If instead you rely on the interpretations of another author, say from a literature review or other secondary source, you can run into trouble, because their point of view might cloud their interpretations and could lead you astray. Therefore, when you can, you will want to select primary sources to cite in your papers and other academic work.  

Identifying Primary Sources

However, not everything published in a scholarly journal or presented at a conference will be a primary source.  Here are some things to look for.

Paper Image

  • Details about the experiment/study
    Look for a methods section with details about study participants, instruments, and procedures.  

  • Details about the results
    Look for raw and analysed data gathered during the study.  Frequently these numbers will be displayed in charts or graphs.

  • Don't be fooled by literature reviews where authors talk about other peoples' research.