Within science disciplines, academic research is generally based on an empirical approach to enhancing knowledge.
This methodology for scholarly investigations is factual and verifiable through analysis of observations or experiences instead of theory or logic. It is at the core of what nowadays is referred to as evidence-based research, which forms an essential basis of practice - particularly in the health and medical sciences.
Traditional expert-based practice in health and medicine, which is typically informed by experience, is shifting towards the view that advancing (clinical) practice is better served by facts on health outcomes as evidence for better care and wellbeing.
The Evidence-Based Medicine concept was introduced in 1990 at McMaster University in Canada, and supported by the Cochrane Collaboration founded soon after. Together they created sufficient momentum for the acceptance of this more modern approach to clinical decision making. To date, systematic reviews available from the Cochrane Library are considered worthwhile as best factual recommendations to inform practice in health and medicine, especially if meta-analysis of reported study outcomes reveals what overall agreement on the topic at the time should be considered.
More detailed information on evidence-based practice is available on the Notre Dame Library webpages. You can learn how to design or appraise a research study which can contribute to evidence-based practice, or how to find the evidence to apply in practice.