Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Social Work

Major Professor

John. G. Orme

Committee Members

Terri Combs-Orme, Matthew T. Theriot, Robert Kronick



Efforts to develop sustainable Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) implementation strategies in work settings have been generally unsuccessful. Scholars have focused on perceptions of workers already in work settings to identify implementation barriers and facilitators. None have focused on perceptions of social workers in training. This nationwide non-probability correlational study assessed Master of Social Work (MSW) students’ perceptions of EBP using a self-administered online survey. A total of 212 (57%) completed this survey with 164 (43%) timed out.

Perceptions were assessed using three sets of questions corresponding to the independent variables: EBP knowledge, attitude toward EBP and EBP self-efficacy. A fourth set of questions assessed the dependent variable intention to implement EBP after graduation. The four measures had Cronbach’s alphas ranging from .81 to .95, indicating good to excellent internal consistency reliability.

It was hypothesized that students reporting higher perceived knowledge, more positive attitudes, and higher self-efficacy would report a greater intention to implement EBP after graduation. The mean knowledge, attitude and self-efficacy scores were high, indicating students perceived their knowledge as high, had a positive attitude toward EBP and were confident of their ability to perform EBP related activities. The intention to use EBP scale total mean score was also high, suggesting that overall participants intended to implement EBP after graduation. Bivariate correlations supported all three hypotheses, indicating a statistically significant positive linear relationship between intention and knowledge, attitude, and self-efficacy. A simultaneous multiple regression analysis also indicated a statistically significant relationship between intention and knowledge, attitude, and self-efficacy, also supporting all three hypotheses. The results indicate that focusing on attitude may be more important than methods and techniques. They also suggest that knowledge, attitude and self-efficacy could be the basis for models for developing sustainable EBP implementation strategies and to improving the way we teach EBP. Limitations of the study and recommendations for future research are also discussed.

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