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      Understanding the role of communities of practice in evidence-informed decision making in public health.

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          Abstract

          In this article we report on qualitative findings that describe public health practitioners' practice-based definitions of evidence-informed decision making (EIDM) and communities of practice (CoP), and how CoP could be a mechanism to enhance their capacity to practice EIDM. Our findings emerged from a qualitative descriptive analysis of group discussions and participant concept maps from two consensus-building workshops that were conducted with public health practitioners (N = 90) in two provinces in eastern Canada. Participants recognized the importance of EIDM and the significance of integrating explicit and tacit evidence in the EIDM process, which was enhanced by CoP. Tacit knowledge, particularly from peers and personal experience, was the preferred source of knowledge, with informal peer interactions being the favored form of CoP to support EIDM. CoP helped practitioners build relationships and community capacity, share and create knowledge, and build professional confidence and critical inquiry. Participants described individual and organizational attributes that were needed to enable CoP and EIDM.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Qual Health Res
          Qualitative health research
          1049-7323
          1049-7323
          Jun 2012
          : 22
          : 6
          Affiliations
          [1 ] School of Nursing, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. donna.meagher-stewart@dal.ca
          Article
          1049732312438967
          10.1177/1049732312438967
          22378836
          1ed09493-a21a-456f-9b42-050ed6f31008

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