Steps for Evidence-Based Behavioral Practice

The evidence based practice process has five steps:

  • ASK important questions about the care of individuals, communities, or populations.
  • ACQUIRE the best available evidence to answer the question.
  • Critically APPRAISE the evidence for validity and applicability to the problem at hand.
  • APPLY the evidence by engaging in collaborative health decision-making with the affected individual(s) and/or group(s). Appropriate decision-making integrates the context, values and preferences of the care recipient, as well as available resources, including professional expertise.
  • ASSESS the outcome and disseminate the results.

Because the evidence-based process informs future questions and practice, it is useful to imagine it as a cycle:

Evidence-Based Behavioral Practice

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Spring, B. & Hitchcock, K. (2009) Evidence-based practice in psychology. In I.B. Weiner & W.E. Craighead (Eds.) Corsini’s Encyclopedia of Psychology, 4th edition (pp. 603-607). New York:Wiley

In following this cycle, the theory of evidence-based practice may be seen as a transdisciplinary approach that not only aims for quality care of individual patients, but also improves accountability for health care practices and promotes life-long learning. These aspects are also reflected in the history of EBP, which addresses a need for quality practice and quality research evidence to support that practice.