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Social Work: Evidence based Practices

Library resources for research in Social Work and related fields.

Social Work Policy Institute

This Web resource was partially funded by a contract to IASWR from NIMH. It seeks to promote the integration of evidence-based mental health treatments into social work education and research. The Evidence-Based Practice Resources section provides tools that can be used to identify EBPs, online resources that can inform the EBP process and a list of publications for further information. The Partnership Examples section highlights some existing partnerships created between researchers and practitioners that further EBP.

What is Evidence-based practice

What is Evidence-Based Practice?

Before we look at the types of models out there, it is important to first understand what constitutes evidence-based practice. According to the Social Work Policy Institute:

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a process in which the practitioner combines well-researched interventions with clinical experience and ethics, and client preferences and culture to guide and inform the delivery of treatments and services. (source)

Because our ease of access to information has improved drastically in the past few decades, acquiring evidence is a much simpler process and has certainly prompted the move towards evidence-based approaches.

However, evidence-based practice implies more than simply acquiring data. According to the Council on Social Work Education, there are five important steps involved in any evidence-based practice model.

1. Formulating a client, community, or policy-related question;

2. Systematically searching the literature;

3. Appraising findings for quality and applicability;

4. Applying these findings and considerations in practice;

5. Evaluating the results. (source)

This last step is particularly significant because evidence-based practice models need to continuously improve if they are to be effective. As a result, each new case should be considered additional evidence and should be analyzed along with the pre-existing data. This kind of perspective helps our social service practices continue to keep pace with a changing world.

The Models

  1. Stages of Change: The Stages of Change model involves progress through a series of stages, and is designed to evaluate an individual’s readiness to change.  Like other evidence-based practice models, it allows for evidence to be considered and taken into account regularly throughout the process.  There is an inherent feedback loop that considers the patients needs and progress.
  2. Parents as Teachers (PAT): This model is one of the performance models that accompanies ETO software.  It is designed to meet the needs of those who receive federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program funding.
  3. Perform Well.  PerformWell is a website that helps provide information about performance management to nonprofit professionals.  The site includes information on a number of different evidence-based practice models that organizations can avail themselves of.

Social Programs that work

Subject Guide

Sharon Parente's picture
Sharon Parente
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