What supports and impedes evidence-based practice implementation? A survey of Australian social workers

Mel Gray, Elyssa Joy, Debbie Plath , Stephen A. Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper reports on findings from a national survey (n = 364) of social workers' views on what impedes and supports evidence-based practice (EBP) implementation. In contrast to some prior research, support for EBP was found to be strong among the social workers surveyed. Open-ended responses, however, reflected some reservations about the formalisation, relevance, usability and applicability of EBP in social work. A range of barriers to EBP implementation for social workers were identified at individual and organisational levels, which is largely supportive of findings from prior research. An interesting distinction was discerned between those respondents who preferred to engage in the whole EBP process themselves (locating, appraising and applying research) and those who preferred to adopt practice guidelines based on appraisal of research evidence by other experts. This finding has implications for the way organisations and the social work profession approach the implementation of EBP.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-684
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2013



  • evidence-based practice
  • implementation
  • social work
  • barriers
  • facilitators

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