Define EBP and Contrast It with Research and QI Processes

Evidence-Based Practice

EBP is an abbreviation for Evidence-Based Practice. This is a systematic process used to make decisions and solve problems in different fields, particularly in healthcare. EBP involves the integration of the best available research evidence with the clinician’s knowledge and skills and patient needs and preferences.



Research is a rigorous exploration or study performed to make new discoveries or expand an already existing body of knowledge. Researchers or scientists collect, analyze, and interpret data to test a hypothesis or achieve specific research objectives. Typically, they follow established protocols or methodologies to generate new knowledge or expand understanding.

Quality Improvement

Quality Improvement (QI) is a framework within a healthcare setting used to enhance care and patient outcomes. According to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, QI focuses on standardizing processes and structures to lower inconsistencies, attain expected results, and improve outcomes for patients, organizations, and healthcare systems.

Contrasting EBP, Research, and QI Processes

EBP involves the application of the best available research evidence to make decisions and solve problems. In evidence-based practice, clinicians examine research studies and apply their findings to guide their practice. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), EBP aims to “improve the quality, effectiveness, and appropriateness of health care by synthesizing the evidence and facilitating the translation of evidence-based research findings.” On the other hand, the primary focus of research is to generate new knowledge or expand understanding through methodical investigation. Quality improvement relies on current professional knowledge and evidence to increase the possibility of desired health outcomes.  

Additional Information

  1. Shirey, M. R., Hauck, S. L., Embree, J. L., Kinner, T. J., Schaar, G. L., Phillips, L. A., … & McCool, I. A. (2011). Showcasing differences between quality improvement, evidence-based practice, and researchThe Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing42(2), 57-68.
  2. Engle, R. L., Mohr, D. C., Holmes, S. K., Seibert, M. N., Afable, M., Leyson, J., & Meterko, M. (2021). Evidence-based practice and patient-centered care: Doing both wellHealth care management review46(3), 174.
  3. Faiman, B. (2021). Quality improvement projects and clinical research studiesJournal of the Advanced Practitioner in Oncology12(4), 360.