Exploring the representation and enactment of evidence-based practice within educational psychology

  • Lucy Cowper

Student thesis: Doctor of Educational and Child Psychology


Background: Practitioner educational psychologists (EPs) are required to engage in evidence-based practice (EBP). The enactment of this can be challenging due to a number of reasons: the complexity of individual problems within practice; great volume, range and formats of potentially relevant research evidence and theory; and narrow interpretation of EBP being synonymous with academically-validated research. Methods/ participants: The first paper details an evaluative systematic literature review (SLR) which focused upon the representation of EBP within empirically substantiated investigations and evaluations for practitioner EPs in the United Kingdom. Fourteen papers met search and inclusion criteria. The second paper explored how three local authority educational psychology services implemented evidence into practice using a 'task-and-finish' group process. Interviews with Principal EPs of the services were also analysed. Analysis/ findings: Papers in the SLR represented EBP across three domains: EPs' understanding of EBP, methods for developing EBP, and directly contributing evidence for practice. Paper Two evaluates the process and outcomes of a task-and-finish group that took as its starting point a significant piece of research relevant to educational psychology practice. Conclusion/ implications: Paper One highlights the identified ways in which EPs can work across the 'research-practice' gap; implications for EP training are signalled. Paper Two demonstrates how EPs can take forward in practice the recommendations of published research. Paper Three outlines dissemination of the findings of this research.
Date of Award31 Dec 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorKevin Woods (Supervisor) & Catherine Kelly (Supervisor)


  • knowledge transfer
  • action research
  • evidence-based practice
  • educational psychology
  • educational psychologist

Cite this