Recent Social Work Practitioners' Understanding and Use of Evidence-based Practice and Empirically Supported Treatments

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Graduate School of Social Work


Social work, Caseworkers, Evidence based practice, Qualitative research, Educational practices, Educational experience


The aim of this study was to evaluate how CSWE’s 2008 shift placing more emphasis on research have affected newly trained social workers’ use of evidence-based practice (EBP). This qualitative study examined the educational and practice experiences of newly trained social workers and how those experiences influence the use of EBP and empirically supported interventions/treatments in the field. Thirteen newly graduated social workers were interviewed using a semi-structured interview. Twenty-three codes emerged from the interviews, with the most prominent theme being a sense of overall confusion about EBP. Other themes included lack of educational preparation, lack of agency resources, and prohibitive agency culture. Implications for social work education and practice are discussed.

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