Evidence-based practice (EBP) refers to the process where 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 (Social Work Policy Institute).
In social work, most agree that EBP is a process creating an answerable question based on a client or organizational need, locating all the best available evidence to answer the question, evaluating the quality of the evidence as well as its applicability, applying the evidence, and evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of the solution.
As there is no consistent agreement on the hierarchy of best available research, a common perspective on a hierarchy of evidence might be:
Systematic reviews usually focus on a specific clinical question and conduct an extensive literature search to identify studies with sound methodology. The studies are reviewed, assessed, and the results summarized according to the predetermined criteria of the review question.
Use the databases below to find systematic reviews of evidence for treating a condition, or for intervening in a population.
The databases below provide reports and information about the most effective programs, interventions, and therapeutic methods for different variables or populations. Use these databases to find evidence-based interventions.
Use the following databases and search engines to find example programs. These are programs that have been developed by clinicians and practitioners, and have enough evidence supporting their efficacy to be considered evidence-based. Use these tools when you need to find examples of programs.
KEEP IN MIND: You might have to find a program that uses a framework or method that has shown to be effective (like CBT or family therapy) but that doesn't target your population or clinical problem exactly. Oftentimes these programs are meant to treat a variety of disorders or clients using a particular method or framework.