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Int J Nurs Stud. 2006 Sep;43(7):903-13. Epub 2005 Dec 20.

Towards a geology of evidence-based practice--a discussion paper.

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  • 1School of Health Science, University of Wales, Swansea, UK. g.rolfe@swan.ac.uk


We begin this paper with a consideration of the significance of a historical perspective in presentations of evidence-based practice in the nursing and medical literature. We suggest that whereas writers often produce coherent historical narratives as justification for particular views of the nature of EBP, an examination of its origins reveals no such signs of historical development or progress in our conception or understanding of it. We then explore alternative modes of thought for attempting to understand and critique the variety of definitions and descriptions of EBP to be found in the literature. We eventually reject the linear mode of historical thinking in favour of Deleuze's notion of rhizomatic thought and the metaphor of geology. Finally, we employ the rhizomatic mode of thinking and writing to construct a geology of evidence-based practice which attempts to expose and embrace contradictions in definitions and uses of the term rather than discount them in an authorised historical narrative written from the perspective of the dominant discourse.

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