Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name



Educational Leadership and Policy

First Advisor

Marytza Gawlik


The purpose of this study was to consider perceptions held by social work faculty and agency-based field instructors to incorporate EBP into social work student classroom and field placement experiences. This study identifies perceptions of social work faculty and field instructors about EBP, determines the extent to which social work faculty and field instructors incorporate and use EBP; and considers how organizational leadership and/or technology supports influence adoption and utilization of EBP. The population for this study included all full-time social work faculty members employed by three large public universities in southeast Michigan (Michigan State University [MSU], University of Michigan [UM], and Wayne State University [WSU]), as well as the agency-based master-level social workers who serve in the role of field instructors for students enrolled in the social work programs at these institutions. A web based survey was used as the primary source of data allowing for both quantitative, as well as qualitative components to be studied. Separate sections of brief questions for faculty members and field instructors with 4-point Likert item responses were used. Open ended questions were used to capture participants' views on multiple factors that impact perception and use of EBP in instruction and practice.

Findings indicated that there is an associate between faculty and field instructors on opportunities to use EBP in the classroom/practice as well as on barriers to the use of EBP in the classroom/practice setting. Findings also indicated that there is a difference between faculty and field instructors regarding attitudes, openness, and support (leadership/technology) for the use of EBP in the classroom/practice.

EBP is not an approach that can be taught once and learned; rather, it is an on-going educational process that requires incorporation of problem solving and critical thinking skills. The appropriate use of the EBP process requires an endorsement by social work educators, as well as the practice community. Leaders of these groups need to adopt the model and accept EBP as part of their on-going learning environment. The integration of research, theory, and practice must continue to develop and be tested constantly to create effective social work practices.