Module 2 Introduction

This module emphasizes the “how to” aspects of the social work profession’s movement to engage with evidence for informing practice: a movement “fueled by our desire to use the tools of science, rather than tradition or opinion, to identify policies and practices that are effective” (Gutierrez, 2011, p. xv). This module explores how social work professionals identify, access, assess, and utilize evidence in making practice decisions. The skill set of this module builds on what was learned in our previous course about reviewing empirical literature, focusing specifically on intervention evidence. We work within a “how to” framework of problem identification, assessment and measurement, and matching to the intervention as facets of the evidence-based practice (EBP) process introduced in Module 1 of our current course:

Step 1: specify an answerable practice question
Step 2: identify the best evidence for answering that question
Step 3: Critically appraise the evidence and its applicability to the question/problem
Step 4: Integrate the results from the critical appraisal with practice expertise and the client’s/clients’/client system’s unique circumstances
Step 5: Take appropriate actions based on this critical appraisal of evidence
Step 6: Monitor and evaluate outcomes of (a) the practice decision/intervention and (b) effectiveness and efficiency of the EBP process (steps 1-4).

Reading Objectives

This module begins with a review of what was learned in our first course Module 2 about research questions and empirical literature; here you will learn to apply these concepts to understanding interventions. After engaging with these reading materials and learning resources, you should be able to describe social work practice activities associated with each of 6 steps in the EBP process. This includes being able to:
  • Develop appropriate practice questions to guide the search for evidence;
  • Explain the relationship of theory to intervention and logic models;
  • Identify approaches and resources for acquiring evidence to answer intervention-related questions, including systematic, scoping, meta-analysis, and literature reviews;
  • List criteria to consider in critically analyzing evidence;
  • Specify an intervention plan based on evidence (including alternate plans);
  • Identify implementation, monitoring, and evaluation as key steps in the EBP process;
  • Define key terms related to social work research and research ethics.


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Social Work 3402 Coursebook Copyright © by Dr. Audrey Begun is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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