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Social Work

Use this guide for social work resources, news, journals articles, and more.

What is Evidence Based Practice?

In social work, most agree that EBP is a process involving creating an answerable question based on a client or organizational need, locating 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.

Evidence-Based Practice refers to the process where the practitioner combines well researched interventions with clinical experience and ethics, client preferences and culture to guide and inform the delivery of treatments and services. (

Other phrases for EBP: 

  • evidence-based treatments
  • evidence-based interventions
  • evidence-informed interventions

For more information about evidence-based practice and to learn how to formulate clinical questions, visit our Evidence-Based Practice LibGuide at


Hierarchy of Social Work Evidence

Pyramid showing Hierarchy of Social Work Evidence

As there is no consistent agreement on the hierarchy of best available research, a common perspective on a hierarchy of evidence might be: 

  • Surveillance data; 
  • Systematic reviews of multiple intervention research studies; 
  • Expert opinion/narrative reviews; 
  • A single intervention research study; 
  • Program evaluation; 
  • Word of mouth/media/marketing; and Personal experience. 

Good Databases for Finding Systematic Reviews