The article on ‘Practice-based Evidence: Towards Collaborative and Transgressive Research,’ discusses the challenges of applying research based evidence in policy and practice.
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This article points the blame to practitioners who fail to apply research evidence, and ‘irrelevance’ of academic research to practice. The author accounts, in part, the conflict of the two factors to academic paradigm of research designed in contrast to practice.
The author criticizes the traditional research model and proposes an optional practice-based model. Fox (81) identifies three suggestions for developing practice-based evidence. First, the reader should recognize the quest for knowledge as local and dependent process. Second, research process should be inclusive of divergence, challenging the legitimacy and repression of distinct perspective of the world.
Third, theory-construction should be perceived as an add-on to practice. These collective perspectives refute the research/practice and researcher/researched contrast in traditional research and provide a politically and ethically employed research.
The author has indicated several research evidences to support his arguments. He cited the study conducted by Mulkay on the opposition in the initiation of biochemistry (Fox, 83). Mulkay arrived at the conclusion that innovations were most effective where they harmonized current and popular technical and cognitive standards.
The letdown of antisepsis to be embraced in the 19th century surgery perhaps mirrored the theory’s attribution of the aetiology of infections to the surgeons. The author demonstrates the relevance of the practice norms by suggesting the reason for the failure of the antisepsis theory in comparison to the asepsis theory that surgeons effectively implemented because it harmonized with the practice norm.
Study by Callon
The researcher analyzed biological scientists’ struggle to resolve over fishing in the French scallop sector. The scientist encountered a first challenge when they discovered that scallops, which proliferated in laboratory tanks, were unable to attach to the rocks in their natural habitat. This scenario clarifies that translation of research findings to actual practice is not straightforward (Fox, 81).
This situation necessitated another rigorous study to fix the problem, which failed because of inconsistency between a forced moratorium on fishing practice and the changes of the local economy.
The researcher arrived at the conclusion that the world-views of the biologist and fishers were divergent to the extent of hindering the translation of scientific propositions into a model, which appeared applicable to a community whose livelihood sustained on the scallop (Fox, 83).
The researcher relied on secondary data of a biological scientist project. This approach is cost-effective since it excludes the expense of data collection.
However, this approach does not allow the researcher to build his or her theory of the problem of concern, wherein it ties the researcher to the theory of the previous biological scientist. This research underscores the importance of considering the divergent views of researchers and practitioners. In this research, people’s world-view of the problem differed from those of the researchers.
Study by Wood et al
These researchers investigated evidence-based procedure on exploitation of laparoscopic surgery for repairing inguinal hernia, oral anticoagulants for stroke prophylaxis and the suggestion for obstetric care established in a government circular called ‘Changing Childbirth’.
On the one hand, the studies revealed a seemingly overall acceptance of the latter, and a patchy adoption of other initiatives on the other, particularly slow with regard to anticoagulant prophylaxis in spite of the evidence of decreased mortality and morbidity.
These researchers postulated that disembodied research findings did not convince the practitioners, although they desired to observe these evidences contextualized in their practice. Wood and colleagues found it crucial that the proposed amendments influenced the practitioners.
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Moreover, it is necessary for research to take consideration of locally based practices that relate with the research. The researchers arrived at the conclusion that research evidence signify not sufficient truth about reality, like one ‘reified moment’ related with the continuing account of practice (Fox, 83).
The researchers perhaps employed a quantitative approach to identify the extent of adoption of evidence-based guidelines by the practitioners. This approach allows researchers to highlight the significance of divergent views between researchers and practitioners.
Indeed, the author argues that research and practice should be regarded as divergent world-views on the same theme, whereby researchers perceive data, whereas practitioners perceive individuals. Policy makers must translate research data from the former to the latter world-perspective prior to its acceptance into practice by practitioners.
Fox has failed to show how research developers can translate practitioners’ world-views into researchers’ world-view, so that practitioners can identify with research findings and easily adopt them. Although, the author proposes the use of practice-based evidence as the workable way of ensuring that practitioners directly employ research findings, there are serious ethical concerns that may arise from this perspective.
Because practitioners see people, it means that the researchers will put many human lives at stake on the claim of obtaining findings that practitioners will directly embrace. Therefore, research developers should first postulate how researchers can adopt practice-based research [PBR] model, without infringing on human rights.
Fox, Nick. “Practice-based Evidence: Towards collaborative and transgressive reserach.” Sociology 37.1 (2003): 81-103.