The myth of evidence-based practice: towards evidence-informed practice

Journal article citation:
British Journal of Social Work, 41(6), September 2011, pp.1176-1197.
Oxford University Press

The article analyses the five steps of the evidence-based practice (EBP) model, arguing that the model has serious limitations. The authors suggest that the relationship between evidence and practice cannot be that of supplying a basis, at least not if that notion is understood in any strict logical sense. Other factors have to be taken account of in addition to evidence and their relation to the evidence has to be explained. The article supports a more comprehensive view of practice as informed by evidence and theory. Evidence-informed practice (EIP) should be understood as excluding non-scientific prejudices and superstitions, but also as leaving ample room for clinical experience as well as the constructive and imaginative judgements of practitioners and clients who are in constant dialogue with one another. Under the EIP model, there is no need for the five-step procedure of the EBP model – instead, practitioners will become knowledgeable of a wide range of sources and use them throughout intervention.

Subject terms:
intervention, social work, evaluation, evidence-based practice;
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