National Institute for Health and Care Research

Barriers to Evidence-Based Practice

Frustrated toddler crawlingThere is no standardised ‘evidence-based’ service offered to families with children under 5 in England, and therefore, practitioners often need to use their ‘hands-on’ experience and unspoken understanding of 0-5 concerns to provide the best service.

There are also a number of barriers to offering effective evidence-based practice to families with children under 5. For example:

  • Education pathways for practitioners often do not offer the knowledge and skills needed to use research in practice, or do not make the importance of using evidence-based interventions clear enough
  • Practitioners may not be aware of the latest evidence or when evidence changes
  • Practical barriers for practitioners may exist preventing them from accessing the published evidence (e.g. due to paywalls on journal websites)
  • Practitioners have insufficient time for identifying, critically appraising and ‘digesting’ evidence to integrate and implement in their practice
  • The lack of diversity within the available evidence for the all the scenarios that practitioners may encounter in their 0-5 practice.

To help improve this situation, Supporting Early Minds is facilitating free Network events (monthly webinars) and will soon host a resources library (open access papers, podcasts and webinar recordings) to help practitioners, managers, commissioners and policy-makers easily engage with recent evidence.

You can help improve the evidence-base for 0-5 practice by helping your early years setting become research ready, getting involved in existing research projects or helping to co-develop new research projects.

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