Evidence Based Practice and Social Services Professions

Evidence –based practice has been gaining acceptance and momentum in the social services professions. As evidence related to specific programs and inventions mount, social service practitioners and organizations around the world have increasingly begun to implement evidence-based programs as a strategy for creating better outcomes for children, families and adults. Unfortunately, the science of evaluating efficacious and effective programs and interventions has far out spaced the science of implementing them.
A gap exists between what we know works and being able to utilize what works in practice (Maynard, August 2009). The article allows you to question why it is so hard for people to understand concepts, theories and research that they have studied. The information that they know and have studied is being put in to practice. How can practitioners evaluate and come to conclusions on their studies of clients and don’t implement what they have studied? We all have clients that we use certain interventions for and we know what works for them but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for all of them.
If 10 people are researched on a new technique that you have learned and they all respond positively to it, that doesn’t mean that the next 10 people you work with will respond the same way. While reviewing the article, consideration to the method the author is trying to implement came into question. Citations were by many appropriate sources. The citations show that she did research and was able to supplement her ideas with other sources besides herself. That doesn’t necessarily mean that she was able to find that source without doing the bottom-up search.
The evidence points at a top-down search which would be logical. It is more feasible and less time consuming. She could read each and every source and find the information required then she would be fulfilling the bottom-up search. She was using many different resources to write the article. The author portrayed many good points in this article.
She discussed how social service agencies can be learning organizations and they are (a) systems thinking, “allows us to look for and identify patterns and see the rganization as a dynamic system that impacts, and is impacted by, individuals and events inside and outside the organization” (Senge, 1990), (b) personal mastery, “people with high levels of personal mastery are more committed, take more initiative, have a broader and deeper sense of responsibility in their work and learn faster” (Senge, 1990) (c) mental models, “people expose their own thinking effectively and make that thinking open the influence of others” (Senge, 1990) (c) building shared vision, “building a shared vision takes time and grows as a result of interactions between individuals within the organization and the sharing of individuals’ visions” (Senge, 1990) and (d) team learning, “creating structures and processes that shift the organizations toward a commitment to learning provides a solid foundation for building a learning organization. The research was unbiased when defending the article. She informed the reader of the research that was performed by many other sources and allowed an opening for discussion whether it is valid or not.
The research is not completed it is open ended for question and improvement. She expresses that “evidence based practice calls for different types of social service organizations that can learn on a continuous basis and adapt quickly and responsively to knowledge, research and the changes in the field that are occurring at a rapid pace” (Maynard, August 2009). She has great insight and theories to help agencies to improve and practice what they know. The article was based off of other sources and what they know and can teach us. More in depth personal research from the author and from the sources could provide a more in depth picture of how evidence-based practice can be dissected.

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