Currently, evidence-based practice is being used by the social work profession. According to Rubin & Babbie (2013) "evidence-based practice is a process in which practitioners consider the best scientific evidence available pertinent to a particular practice decision as an important part of their decision making" (p. 22). Mullen, Bledsoe & Bellamy (2008) emphasized "social work policy, administration, and direct practice based on scientific knowledge rather than authority, tradition, or common sense can lead to better outcomes for clients" (p. 325). The evidence-based process allows the social worker to combine scientific research, expert knowledge and skills and critical thinking in solving problems on the micro, macro, and mezzo levels of practice.
Two strategies that are being used by practitioners in evidence-based practice research are the top-down strategy and the bottom-up strategy. While both strategies are similar in helping the practitioner to apply evidence-based intervention, they are also different in the way the information is gathered.
"Top-down strategy relies on the results of evidence-based searches that others have done, as reported in such sources as systematic reviews, meta-analyses, or books providing practice guidelines" (Rubin & Babbie, 2013, p. 34). When the bottom-down strategy is used, the researcher would use scholarly journal articles or other sources that would provide evidence to the practice questions that he or she developed. The researcher would then read and evaluate the material and figure out whether the information applies to a certain practice decision and choose the appropriate course of action by the best available evidence.
Mullen, E.J., Bledsoe, S.E. & Bellamy, J.L. (2008). Implementing evidence-based social work
practice. Research on Social Work Practice, 18 (4), 325-338. doi: 10.1177/1049731506297827
Rubin, A & Babbie, E. (2013). Essential research methods for social work. (3rd ed.). Australia:
Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning.
Social Work Learner
Tarleton State University