From “Evidence-based practice: A critical reflection”


“This assumption (that best practices are those which are supported by empirical research) perpetuates the privilege of scientific knowledge over other forms of knowledge, and promotes the authority of the scientific community (Powell 2005), while it also dovetails neatly with the agendas of powerful forces in the health care industry. It is not coincidental that EBP [evidence-based practice] has gained prominence at the same time as managed care (Boler and Hall 2007, Otto and Ziegler 2008). Managerial interests stressing accountability and cost effectiveness have fuelled the validation of EBPs, even as they focus, sometimes inappropriately, on brief, short term interventions and the oversimplification of complex problems whose roots lie in the social system.

In the wake of the EBP juggernaut, consumers, service providers and qualitative researchers are among the marginalized groups. Some qualitative researchers have asserted that EBP’s narrow view of science and evidence supports a conservative world view (Lincoln 2005). When clients are seen as the problem, there is little need to question the social structures and economic inequalities that exacerbate, and sometimes cause, personal struggles. In EBP, social interventions that target the victim are pursued while social and economic structures are protected. Essentially, EBP reflects the interests of quantitative researchers and the status quo, and not necessarily the interests of consumers, service providers or qualitative researchers, whose voices are suppressed.”

Petr, C. G. & Walter, U.M. (2009). Evidence-based practice: A critical reflection. European Journal of Social Work, 12(2), 221-232.

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