Activity 4: Introduction to evidence-based practice (EBP)

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Introduction

A gap still exists between research knowledge and its application in practice. This activity introduces you to some current thinking about the use of evidence-based practice in the substance use field. Some professions are more familiar with evidence-based practice than others; for example, medicine, nursing, and other health professions entrench evidence-based models into much of their practice. In other disciplines, such as social work, evidence-based practice is still emerging. A concern for many professional disciplines regarding the application of EBP is an over-reliance on “scientific” knowledge to explain complex issues such as substance use that is affected by a myriad of intersecting social and structural factors. For some, evidence-based decision making reduces professional practice to a narrow, simplistic, technical, routinized practice. For others, evidence-based practice is seen as a way of “doing” practice, and a way of narrowing the gap between research and practice (Gray, Plath, & Webb, 2009). Regardless of your discipline, it is important to consider your biases and values about the use of research in practice and to develop an approach to practice that enables you to be sure that you are providing the intervention for your service users in a way that is most likely to meet their goals.

Instructions

  1. Read the following:
    • Miller, W., Zweben, J., & Johnson, W. (2005). Evidence-based treatment: Why, what, where, when, and how? Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 29, 267–276.
    • Gitterman, A., & Knight, C. (2013). Evidence-guided practice: Integrating the science and art of social work. Families in society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 94(2), 70–78.
  2. Consider your response to the following competency interview question associated with evidence based practice (Analytical Thinking and Decision Making – Level 3):
    • Tell me about a time when you used evidence-based knowledge, past experience, and/or consultation with others to determine a solution to a problem where no precedent existed?
    • Describe the nature of the problem and why it required a creative solution.
    • What factors did you consider when trying to understand the problem in greater depth?
    • What knowledge/experience/consultation did you use to analyze the problem and why?
    • What solution did you develop and what were the results?
    • Write approximately a page (500–600 words) summarizing your perspective on evidence-based practice. This will be the first component of Assignment 1–Integration Journal A.