Evidence-Based Practice In Management And Consulting [Enter Course]


This course will introduce students to the basic concepts and skills of evidence-based practice. The course is directly relevant to students who desire to improve the quality and outcome of their decision-making.

Managers and consultants are required to take action based on their decisions, and such decisions may have profound impacts on employees, customers and clients, the organization, and society more widely. But how good are such decisions? How can we ensure that managers and consultants get hold of, accurately interpret, and make use of the best available evidence in their decision-making?

This course will help students develop the practical skills managers and consultants need to bring evidence-based approaches to their organization. In the process of developing these skills you will also find out a lot about management research.

Additional Course Details

Topics Covered:
(1) Critical thinking and reasoning; (2) identifying and gathering the best available evidence; (3) critical appraisal of different forms of evidence; (4) aggregating evidence from different sources; and, (5) applying different forms of evidence to decision-making.
Estimated Time to Complete Course:
To finish the entire course, it will take approximately 12 weeks, assuming you do about one module per two weeks. However, you can also choose to do study modules separately.

In-Depth Description


Unit 1: Using this Course

Module 1: Using This Course

Strategies for learning. Developing skills for independent learning.


Unit 2: Evidence-Based Practice in Management and Consulting

Module 2: The Basic Principles 

What is evidence-based practice? What counts as evidence? Why do we need evidence-based practice? What sources of evidence should be considered? Why do we have to critically appraise evidence? Why focus on the ‘best available’ evidence? Common misconceptions of evidence-based practice. What Is the evidence for evidence-based practice?


Module 3: Asking (under construction)

Identifying underlying assumptions. What is a PICOC? What is the problem to be solved? What is the evidence for the assumed problem? What is the preferred solution? What is the evidence for the preferred solution?


Module 4: Professional Expertise and Judgment (currently Module 3)

What is professional expertise? System 1 and System 2 Thinking. Cognitive biases. Patternicity and the illusion of causality. Confirmation Bias. Group Conformity. Other Common Cognitive Biases. Overcoming Cognitive Biases. Avoiding or Reducing Bias. Acquiring Evidence from Practitioners. Developing Survey Questions. Developing your capacity to ask questions.


Module 5: Scientific evidence (under construction)

What is scientific research? What is pseudoscience? Why do we need scientific research? Could it happen by chance? What is a p-value? (Sample) size matters. Effect sizes. What is bias? What are confounders? Quantitative versus qualitative research. Horses for courses: methodological appropriateness. Internal validity. Correlation and causality. Measuring the outcome. What is a baseline? What is a control group? What is randomization? The role of theory. Critical appraisal. Hierarchy of evidence. Best available evidence.


Module 6: Acquiring Scientific Evidence (under construction)

Peer reviewed journals. Research databases. PICOC. Determining your search terms. Finding alternative and related terms. Identifying corresponding academic terms. Pre-testing your search terms. Boolean operators, truncation, and title/abstract search. Using methodological search filters. Searching for meta-analyses. Searching for controlled and/or longitudinal studies. Searching for low-quality studies. Screening the articles found for relevance. Retrieving full-text articles.


Module 7: Critically Appraising Scientific Evidence (currently Module 4)

How to read a research article? How to determine the research design? How to determine a study’s methodological quality? How to determine if scientific evidence is trustworthy?


Module 8: Acquiring and Appraising Organizational Evidence (under construction)

What is organizational evidence? Sources of organizational evidence. Forms of organizational evidence. Logical models, organizational context and the political life of business information. Statistics for the terrified: measurement level, sample size, validity, measurement errors, confidence intervals, correlation and regression.


Module 9: Aggregating: weighing and pulling together the evidence (under construction)

Truth and proof. Probability versus chance. Why probability is always conditional. Bayes’ Rule. The prior probability. The likelihood of the evidence. Updating the posterior probability when new evidence becomes available. Using Bayes’ Rule to aggregate evidence from different sources. Making a decision. Expected value. Risk acceptance. Bayesian thinking.