Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Social Work: Evidence-Based Practice: Evidence-Based Practice

What Is Evidence-Based Medicine [Practice]?

Levels of evidence pyramid ("Information Mastery: Navigating the Maze." University of Virginia, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, 2009.)

Evidence based medicine is the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. The practice of evidence based medicine means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research."

HealthLinks Tutorial, (1994-2009).  "Basic introduction to evidence-based practice resources." Seattle, WA: University of Washington.

P.I.C.O. Model

Patient, Population, or Problem: How would I describe a group of patients similar to mine?

Intervention, Prognostic Factor, or Exposure: Which main intervention, prognostic factor, or exposure am I considering?

Comparison or Intervention (if appropriate): What is the main alternative to compare for the intervention?

Outcome you would like to measure or achieve: What can I hope to accomplish, measure, improve, or affect?

P.I.C.O. Model for Formulating Patient Questions. (2005).   "Evidence based medicine: Finding the best clinical literature."  Peoria, IL: University of Illinois Library of the Health Sciences.

Levels of Evidence

Quality of Evidence ranges from A (High) - several high-quality studies with consistent results - to D (very low) - expert opinion, no direct research evidence, or one or more studies with very severe limitation

Essential Evidence Plus.  (2009).  Levels of Evidence.  Malden, MA: John Wiley.

Librarian - Asst Prof

La Loria Konata's picture
La Loria Konata
La Loria Konata
Library South, 542

Evidence-Based Practice Video

Traube, D.  (2007).  Evidence-Based Practice [video].  Retrieved March 17, 2009 from
Dr. Traube is affiliated with the University of Southern California School of Social Work.


Readings in Evidence-Based Social Work by Bruce Thyer: Book Cover

Vaughn, M. G, Howard, M. O., & Thyer, B. A. (Eds.). (2009).   Readings in evidence-based social work: Syntheses of the intervention knowledge base.  Los Angeles, SAGE.  HV10.5 .R415 2009

Macgowan, M. J.  (2008).  A guide to evidence-based group work.  New York: Oxford University Press.  HV45 .M24 2008

Roberts, A. R., & Yeager, K. R.  (2006).  Foundations of evidence-based social work practiceNew York: Oxford University Press.  HV689 .F68 2006

For additional titles, do an Exact Search in GIL under the Subject Headings Evidence-Based Social Work or Evidence-Based Practice.


  • Use Evidence Based Practice as a descriptor (de="evidence based practice") to find both theoretical articles and ones relating evidence based practice to specific areas.
  • Select a specific topic, e.g. adoption, and combine with the descriptor above to find specific studies applying evidence based practice to that area.
  • Use thesaurus [subject] terms Evidence Based Practice, Best Practices, and/or Clinical Trials
  • In Advanced Searches, under Methodology, limit to Systematic Review, or Treatment Outcome/Clinical Trial
  • See Clinical Queries link on left sidebar andlogin Find Systematic Reviews section.
  • Can also use Limits feature to limit a normal PubMed search to certain publication types, such as Clinical Trial, Meta-Analysis, Practice Guidelines, Randomized Controlled Trial, Review, Guideline, etc.


  • Much of the information available through PubMed (including the Clinical Queries and Limits feature listed above), utilizing the user-friendly EBSCO platform
  • You may also search under EBM Reviews
Unique source of reliable and up-to-date information on the effects of interventions in health care. Designed to provide information and evidence to support decisions taken in health care and to inform those receiving care.
  • Search box in top right.
  • Results broken out into 7 categories. Most valuable ones are Cochrane Reviews, Other Reviews, and Clinical Trials.
CINAHL (pronounced "sin-all")
Indexes 3,000 journals from the fields of nursing and 17 allied health fields. Also indexes health carebooks, selected conference proceedings, standards of practice, book chapters, and Evidence-Based Care Sheets.
  • Click Advanced Search and see Evidence-Based Practice check box on bottom under Limit your results.

Metasearch Engines

These search across multiple databases and combine the results.  Note: Some of the information culled from these engines may not be available full-text through the GSU Libraries but may be ordered via interlibrary loan.

TRIP (Turning Research into Practice) Database
Performs a simple search in more than 60 databases related to EBM.

Simultaneously searches a few free-access sources, including PubMed and DARE.