Implementation Science and Practice

Enola K. Proctor, Byron Powell and Hollee McGinnis

in Social Work

ISBN: 9780195389678
Published online November 2011 | | DOI:
Implementation Science and Practice


Evidence-based practice (EBP) has been increasingly advocated and is gaining wider acceptance in social work. This signals a continuing reaffirmation of social work’s commitment to generating and maintaining a scientific knowledge base in general and, more specifically, to an expectation that social work be informed by, and based on, evidence from scientific research. Yet actual implementation of evidence-based programs, services, and practices remains a formidable challenge. In most areas of health and human services, evidence-based care comprises only a small fraction of all the care that is actually delivered. We have little if any data on the proportion of actual social work services that are evidence based. In response to the challenge of moving evidence-based practice from the research environment to real-world care, a growing literature addresses the science and practice of translation, and specifically the implementation of evidence-based practices. Translational science is a broad field that pertains to the progression from basic biological research to its application for public health benefit. Implementation research is a subset of translational research, although some literatures use these terms interchangeably. Literature on implementation reflects an early stage of science, for we have much to learn about the factors that enhance implementation, and even more to learn about actual strategies implementing evidence-based practices and the methodology for studying implementation processes. The literature discussed in this entry is drawn from a range of disciplines, because social work journals have published very few articles about implementation and because implementation itself is an inherently transdisciplinary topic.

Article.  9458 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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