The evidence-based practice (EBP) movement has stimulated a rebirth of optimism about efforts to influence social work practitioners to use research to guide their practice. Various reasons have been offered to support the optimism, including: easier access to research facilitated by advances in the internet; the proliferation of systematic reviews and meta-analyses; an increase in the number of interventions that have been empirically supported; and pressures from third party payers requiring practitioners to use evidence-based treatments supported by research with positive outcomes (Gibbs, 2003; O’Neill, 2003; Rosen, 2003; Rubin & Parrish, 2007; Rubin & Parrish, in press). Despite these advances, considerable skepticism lingers as to whether EBP will experience the same fate as previous efforts to improve the integration of research and practice (Sanderson, 2002; Shelson & Rupartharshini, 2002; Mullen & Bacon, 2004; Gira, Kessler, & Poertner, 2004; Mullen, Shlonsky & Bellamy, 2005; McNeill, 2006; Nelson, Steele & Mize, 2006; Mullen, 2006; Bellamy, Bledsoe, & Traube, 2006; Rubin & Parrish, 2007; Rubin & Parrish, in press.)
It follows that the success of the EBP movement will depend largely on whether practitioners accept EBP as an important model to guide their practice, feel capable of engaging in EBP, view EBP as feasible in light of real-world practice realities and barriers, and ultimately actually engage in EBP. Consequently, this study seeks to provide a scale that can be used to assess the extent to which clinicians accept EBP, feel capable of engaging in the EBP process, view that process as feasible, intend to engage in the EBP process, and actually engage in that process. Mullen (2006), for example, suggests, “The future of evidence-based practice in social work rests on the profession’s capacity and willingness to provide current practitioners and future generations of practitioners with training in evidence-based practice” (p. 156).
Columbia University Center for the Study of Social Work Practice