Evidence-Based Practice in Social Work: Challenges and Opportunities for Clinicians and Organizations

Traci L. Wike, Sarah E. Bledsoe, Jennifer I. Manuel, Mathieu Despard, Lydia V. Johnson, Jennifer L. Bellamy, Candace Killian-Farrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Evidence-based practice (EBP) is increasingly emphasized in social work, yet effective approaches for translating research evidence into social work practice remain elusive. Despite a growing body of evidence describing effective interventions with a variety of populations, social workers continue to encounter substantial challenges with incorporating knowledge gained from these intervention studies into their routine practice with clients. This paper presents the current research outlining the known barriers and promoters to using EBP in social work clinical practice. Because social workers practice within the context of organizations, we consider the barriers that exist at both the individual and organizational levels that affect clinical social work practice. In addition to addressing the various challenges to incorporating research evidence into practice, we will also discuss a variety of emergent opportunities accompanying the move toward EBP that can be leveraged by clinicians in their social work practice with clients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-170
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Social Work Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Clinical social work
  • EBP
  • ESI
  • Intervention
  • Mental health
  • Research evidence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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