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On April 26, 2012, the Canadian Library Association (CLA) released a statement where it said “The CLA is pleased to announce that the winners of the 2012 Robert H. Blackburn Distinguished Paper Award are Lorie Kloda, Denise Koufogiannakis, and Katrine Mallan, who are honoured for their 2011 paper entitled, "Transferring evidence into practice: what evidence summaries of library and information studies research tell practitioners," published in Information Research (16:1, March 2011).

This study examines the critical appraisals of library and information studies published in the form of evidence summaries within Evidence Based Library and Information Practice from 2006-2008. Critical appraisal is a crucial aspect of evidence based practice, and evidence summaries "provide a synopsis and critical appraisal of published research in order to facilitate the transfer of research into practice." Evidence summaries save the time of the practitioners who read them and provide them with the benefit of others' expertise. The results of the study show that evidence summaries reveal more weaknesses than strengths in library and information research published within this journal. Critical appraisal writers found frequent weaknesses in validity and reliability of library and information research studies, and this finding should have significant impact because it will, as the authors suggest, strengthen the body of research within the field by helping to identify weaknesses and pitfalls, whereas noted areas of strength will provide "examples of good practice that new researches can model."

Paradoxically, the summary writers still found that even with flawed methodology, the results of the research studies appraised were still applicable. Research articles in the field yielded elements that were relevant to practice, even if the actual results came from weak methodology. This paradox caused the authors to ask why and how this could be the case, and subsequent research into this question could further improve the quality of research, as well as improve the quality of evidence summaries themselves.

The Robert H. Blackburn Distinguished Paper Award is named for Dr. Blackburn, the first President of CACUL (1963-64).  The award annually recognizes notable research published by Canadian Library Association Members.  The Robert H. Blackburn Distinguished Paper Award will be presented at the CLA National Conference and Tradeshow taking place at the Ottawa Convention Centre, May 30 - June 2, 2012.

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