Evidence-Based Practice in the Social Services


Evidence-based practice integrates individual practitioner expertise with the best available evidence while also considering the values and expectations of clients. Research can be categorized into two broad areas: primary (experiments, clinical trials, and surveys) and secondary research (overviews of major studies, practice guidelines, and decision and economic analyses). One of the major challenges to incorporating research evidence into organizational life is the absence of an evidence-based organizational culture within human service agencies. This article identifies multiple strategies and case examples for creating such an organizational culture. Three major implications emerge from this analysis: (a) agency- university partnerships to identify the data to support evidence-based practice, (b) staff training (in the agencies and on campuses) that features problem-based learning approaches to support the introduction and utilization of evidence-based practice, and (c) the modification of agency cultures to support and sustain evidence-based practice.

Johnson, M.A.
Austin, M.J.
Publication date: 
November 5, 2008
Publication type: 
Journal Article