Research Output
A critical analysis of evidence-based practice in UK healthcare: The case of asthma action plans.
  Evidence-based practice is an integral part of multi-disciplinary healthcare, but its routine clinical implementation remains a challenge internationally. Written asthma action plans are an example of sub-optimal evidence-based practice because, despite being recommended, these plans are under-issued by health professionals and under-used by patients/carers. This thesis is a critical analysis of the generation and implementation of evidence in this area and provides fresh insight into this specific theory/practice gap.

This submission brings together, in five published papers, a body of work conducted by the candidate. Findings report that known barriers to action plan use (such as a lack of practitioner time) are symptomatic of deeper and more complex underlying factors. In particular, over-reliance on knowledge derived from randomised controlled trials and their systematic review, as the primary and sole source of evidence for healthcare practice, hindered the implementation of these plans. A lack of evidence reflecting the personal experience of using these plans in the real world, rather than in trial settings, contributed to a mismatch between what patients/carers want from asthma action plans and what they are currently being provided with by professionals. This submission illustrates the benefits of utilising a broader range of knowledge as a basis for clinical practice. The presented papers report how new and innovative research methodologies (including meta-ethnography and cross-study synthesis) can be used to synthesise individual studies reporting the personal experiences of patients and professionals and how such findings can then be used to better understand why interventions can be implemented in trial settings rather than everyday practice. Whilst these emerging approaches have great potential to contribute to evidence-based practice by, for example, strengthening the ‘weight’ of experiential knowledge, there are methodological challenges which, whilst acknowledged, have yet to be fully addressed.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    06 February 2013

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    RT Nursing

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    610.7 Medical education, research & nursing

  • Funders:

    University of Stirling


Ring, N. A critical analysis of evidence-based practice in UK healthcare: The case of asthma action plans. (Thesis). University of Stirling. Retrieved from



evidence based practice, implementation, synthesis, qualitative, asthma action plans, generation, integration, meta-ethnography, cross-study synthesis, systematic review, barriers, facilitators, randomised controlled trials, intervention description,

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