Understanding Evidence-Based Practices

Definition of Evidence-Based Practice

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) defines evidence-based practice (EBP) as a combination of the following three factors: (1) best research evidence, (2) best clinical experience, and (3) consistent with patient values (IOM, 2001). These factors are also relevant for child welfare. The CEBC has adopted the Institute of Medicine's definition for evidence-based practice with a slight variation that incorporates child welfare language:

  • Best Research Evidence
  • Best Clinical Experience
  • Consistent with Family/Client Values

This definition builds on a foundation of scientific research while honoring the clinical experience of child welfare practitioners and being fully cognizant of the values of the families we serve. In contrast, practice-based evidence (PBE) is evidence of effectiveness from the practitioners and workers in the field, as well as a match with the needs and values of the local community. Click here to learn more about PBE vs. EBP.

Click on the image below for a free downloadable handout including information on a brief history of EBPs, what makes a program evidence-based, and 6 common misconceptions and facts about EBPs:

    Click on the image below for a free one-page handout that includes information on the types of research evidence the CEBC reviews for programs in the Program Registry.


Reference: Institute of Medicine. (2001). Crossing the quality chasm: A new health system for the 21st century. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.