The Future of Evidence-Based Social Work: An Optimistic View?

  • Barry R. Cournoyer
Keywords: Evidence-Based Practice, Evidence-Based Social Work, ESP, EBSW, Future


The abbreviated article contains a brief overview of the contemporary state of evidence-based social work (EBSW) and projections of its likely future. The forecast is based upon a review and analysis of the current trends and themes reflected in books, journal articles, dissertations, conferences, university programs, centers and resources available through the World Wide Web. The analysis suggests that the future of evidence-based practice (EBP) in social work is likely to be characterized by further evolution, clarification, and explication of the EBP perspective; continued growth and popularity and a commensurate increase in the number of publications about EBP; modest increase in the number of practice-relevant research studies conducted by social workers; slight decrease in the gap between research-based knowledge and actual practice; and continued polarization within the profession about the relative value and utility of evidence-based social work.