Finding Evidence for Speech and Language Therapy
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Why look for evidence?

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a growing concern in all health and social care fields - basing practice on solid evidence wherever possible. Evidence-based interventions should ensure higher quality patient/client care. This means that it is important to search for good quality evidence to support your academic work and clinical practice. It also means that it is important to contribute to the body of evidence once you are a registered practitioner!

Databases and other sites linked to on this page are excellent ways to discover journal articles, which are perhaps the most important source of evidence for EBP.

Databases

A database is simply a large collection of information. In terms of evidence-seeking, the most important databases will be about journal articles. Some databases contain the articles themselves, others will contain information about the articles - you can then use LibrarySearch to track these down.

Both the University of Greenwich and Canterbury Christ Church University have access to many different databases which you may find useful. Greenwich databases are accessed via the Portal (via the Library tab). CCCU databases are accessed via LibrarySearch (choose the Find Databases button).

Useful databases for SLT include :

  • CINAHL - allied health, including SLT. Both CCCU and Greenwich have this.
  • PsycInfo - psychology. Both CCCU and Greenwich have this.
  • Psychology and Behavioural Sciences Collection. Greenwich has this.
  • British Education Index - useful for the paediatric module. CCCU has this.
  • MLA International Bibliography - language and linguistics. CCCU has this.
  • ASSIA - applied social sciences, including health. CCCU has this.

On the Greenwich Portal, you can search a number of Health databases simultaneously (including CINAHL, PsycInfo, the Psychology and Behavioural Sciences Collection and more) by going to EBSCOhost Research Databases and selecting the Health Sciences option.

Free databases to use for searching for evidence include:

  • Pubmed - a free database covering biomedicine and related disciplines. Some of the articles on here are available in full-text format due to the service's US government funding.
  • Autism Data - database of published information on autism and Asperger's, including references to books, journal articles, research papers etc.
  • SpeechBITE - an Australian "database that provides open access to a catalogue of Best Interventions and Treatment Efficacy across the scope of Speech Pathology practice"
  • What Works? - a database of interventions which can be used in paediatric Speech and Language Therapy, provided by The Communication Trust. For each intervention, it includes clear information including the evidence for the efficacy of the intervention with relevant groups [free registration is required to use this site]

With any of the databases, if you cannot immediately access an article you find there, it is always worth checking to see whether it is from a journal which is available through one of the Universities. See the accessing journals page for info on how to do this if you are not sure.

Using databases

Each database has its own specialisms and unique features, but the basic use of most of them is very similar. You can come in to the library for assistance, or access online help. Below is a presentation which outlines one way of doing a comprehensive search for information on large databases (e.g. CINAHL, PsycInfo etc.)

Cochrane Library

The Cochrane Library is a resource for systematic reviews of evidence in health care and medicine - documents which review the evidence for and against the use of particular interventions or diagnostic tools. It is one of the foremost resources for evidence-based medicine and well-worth investigating.

An example of a systematic review relevant to SLT to get you started is Speech and language therapy for aphasia following stroke.

Finding evidence on the web

These free sites are great places to find relevant info on the web. Hover over the titles for details about each one.

  • Aphasiology Archive - a collection of full-text material on aphasia, largely from conferences, but some is from journals
  • HSIC - Health and Social Care Information Centre - Official Statistics
  • Local practice collection – information on how NICE guidelines have been positively applied in practice
  • NHS Evidence - evidence-based information from professional bodies, charities, research organisations and more
  • What Works? - a database of interventions which can be used in paediatric Speech and Language Therapy, provided by The Communication Trust. For each intervention, it includes clear information including the evidence for the efficacy of the intervention with relevant groups [free registration is required to use this site]
  • UK government publications

I can help!

If you need some help finding information, working out what's good and what's not on the web, or managing your references, I can help. As the librarian who supports your subject, it is my job to help you with everything connected with the library, whether that's the books on the shelves, or all the electronic information we have access to.

Telephone : 01634 883446
E-mail contact form (choose Health)
Twitter : @dhldavidb

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