The final step in the EBLIP process is to evaluate and determine what impact was made, where gaps remain and where improvement is needed for the next time (Adapt).
This involves both reflection on the implementation of the decision and ongoing assessment or evaluation to determine whether the decision is working in the longer term (Booth 2004a). Within the literature, this step appears to be the one that has received the least attention, yet if you are going to the trouble of working through the other steps of the EBLIP process you should also take the time to examine whether your decision worked or made a difference. Furthermore, if you are adopting a whole evidence-based approach to your practice, this shouldn't be seen as a final step but as an ongoing part of the cyclical nature of your way of thinking.
The first reflective step involves thinking about what worked and whether any changes need to be made. New or further questions may also have arisen. The second part of the reflection involves evaluating any service change that was made, so as to determine if it had the desired effect. This can be done via measures of service quality such as benchmarking, performance measures and audit (Booth, 2004a). In reality, the former is more important if the evidence was used for advocacy or to help a stakeholder make a decision about your service, particularly if the decision wasn't a welcome one and led to large service changes. Evaluating service changes to see if they had the desired effect is part of the larger picture relating to quality improvement.
Reflection on the process
Reflection is noted as an important continuing professional development activity within EBLIP (Koufogiannakis, 2010b). In the UK, reflection is part of the process required for professional revalidation with CILIP, whereas in the USA the Medical Library Association has recognized the importance of reflection in the research process, challenging its members to ‘build a culture of reflective practice in which the profession's evidence base is routinely used’ (Grefsheim, Rankin, Perry and McKibbon, 2008, 115). Examinations of how librarians can be more reflective in their practice are becoming more prevalent in the literature (Booth, 2010; Forrest, 2008; Sen, 2010), with an easy approach being to think of reflection in terms of What? So What? Now What? (Alcock, 2014).