Clinical Social Work Journal

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 161–170 | Cite as

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
Original Paper


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.


Research evidence EBP ESI Clinical social work Intervention Mental health 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Traci L. Wike
    • 1
  • Sarah E. Bledsoe
    • 2
  • Jennifer I. Manuel
    • 1
  • Mathieu Despard
    • 2
  • Lydia V. Johnson
    • 2
  • Jennifer L. Bellamy
    • 3
  • Candace Killian-Farrell
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Social WorkVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  2. 2.School of Social WorkUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.School of Social Service AdministrationUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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