Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Evidence-Based Practice Articles

I just read two great articles about Evidence Based Practice (EBP) in Social Work. Let me know if you are interested in reading either one. They argue that some of the limitations of the EBP approach are:

1. SWs report not having enough time to read.

2. SWs report not having access to journal articles.

3. SWs have not had adequate training to interpret the evidence from research studies.

4. Based on past scientific movements in the profession, SWs may not see a need for or the appeal of the EBP framework in everyday practice.

5. A survey of agency-based field instructors found lack of time was the top barrier to implementation of EBP.

6. Social workers rarely use research evidence to strengthen decision making about client interventions.

7. Different stakeholders apply different standards to evidence that they are using to determine whether an intervention is effective or even needed in the first place.

8. SWs may see new knowledge as credible only if it fits with the existing professional theories that they agree with or with their political, religious, or other personal beliefs. So, training, professional knowledge, or personal beliefs can prevent a practitioner from being open to reviewing any evidence that is available on alternate therapies.

9. It is not known what type of evidence SWs value (and from where – psychology, social work, sociology, political science, etc.)?

10. Within social work, surveys that collect information on demographics, service counts, or reasons for referral may be an appropriate evidence of demand, but they are not necessarily an appropriate way to determine the effectiveness of interventions.

Do you agree with any of these? Could you tell me which of these (identified by their number on the list) that resonate for you? What about your colleagues?

Bonus tip:

Reviews of various types of SW practice have documented that the treatments with demonstrated effectiveness tend to be brief, group, skills-focused, intervention approaches.
(from Limitations of Evidence-Based Practice for Social Work Education: Unpacking the Complexity by Kathryn B. Adams et al.)

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