Practice-Based and Evidence-Based Practice

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Getting Started

Before beginning a research project, it is important to understand the differences between practice-based research and evidence-based research within social work.

Emphasis of Practice-Based Research

Summary of Practice Based Research

Researchers who align with practice-based research place an emphasis on inductive research; in other words, personal wisdom or experiences generate the research problem or gap in service. Practice-based research emphasizes formative research that uses both quantitative and qualitative methods. However, PBR rejects the use of random control trials, often seen within a true experimental study.

Evidenced-Based Research

Researchers who align with evidenced-based practice place an emphasis on deductive research; in other words, prior research generates the research problem. Evidence-based research emphasizes summative research and uses mostly quantitative methods. EBR supports the use of random control trials as seen within a true experimental study.

Upon successful completion of this discussion, you will be able to:

  • Identify and discuss in writing the differences between practice-based social work and evidence-based social work.


  • Textbook: Practice-Based Research in Social Work

Background Information

Because of the complexity of social work practice, on an individual and society basis, social workers are encouraged to engage in the research process. This process provides opportunities to develop theories and hypotheses regarding the root causes of the myriad problems that clients face, with the goal of becoming more effective social workers by helping clients get better. A commonly used approach is practice-based research.


  1. Review the rubric to make sure you understand the criteria for earning your grade.
  2. In your textbook Practice-Based Research in Social Work, read Chapter 1.
  3. Navigate to the threaded discussion and respond to the following discussion prompts:
    1. What are the differences between practice-based and evidenced-based research?
    2. Discuss some of the strengths and limitations of each type.
    3. Give one example from the textbook reading, field placement, place of employment, or empirical article of a social worker using either practice-based or evidence-based research with a client.

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