When making a clinical decision, it is important to come back to the three elements of evidence-based practice. This is true even, and perhaps especially, when guidelines already exist to help guide your decision. Consider the following when deciding the degree to which you will adhere to, or diverge from, existing guidelines.
- Return to your original research question, and identify the points of congruence and incongruence. For example, how well is the population you're researching represented in the existing literature?
- Critically examine the information before you to determine the degree to which they are evidence-based. For additional information, ASHA suggests reviewing the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation (AGREE).
- Take a careful look at the parties who wrote, published, and backed the information before you to see what they might gain or lose by it.