Assignment 1: Evidence-Based Practice Question,Evidence Synthesis and Critical Appraisal(35% of Course Grade)
During the course of the semester, each student will be working towards the preparation of three assignments related to effectively serving a specific client by: 1) locating and critiquing the best available evidence for practice decisionmaking; 2) identifying appropriate assessment tools and interventions; and 3) evaluating the effectiveness of interventions designed to meet the needs of adults with regard to their mental health and wellness.
Evidence-based Practice (EBP) is defined as a process for making practice decisions in which practitioners integrate the best available research evidence with their practice expertise and with client attributes, values, preferences, and circumstances. As such, Assignment 1 represents the first three stages of this process. The assignment has two parts, which together should not exceed 6 pages, double-spaced.
For the first portion of the assignment, students are expected to formulate a health or mental health evidence-based practice question that is of interest to them and directly impacts their work with a specific adult or older adult client. The question should address a specific practice challenge or issue about which you need to learn more in order to engage, assess, or intervene with your client most effectively. In selecting a meaningful practice question, students should consider their existing knowledge of the particular client-of-focus, the local service context, agency capacity, and available resources, and their relevant experiences addressing similar problems or working with others who have similar backgrounds or needs.
The second portion involves locating and critically appraising a small body of relevant empirical evidence representing the best available evidence to answer the practice question. As part of the process of bridging the gap between research and practice, social work students should be able to assess the quality, extent, and applicability of available scientific evidence, and to translate that evidence into practical knowledge used for applied decision-making.
Part 1: Client Problem and Evidence-Based Practice Question that includes the following information: (approximately 1 page)
Client Background, Problem, and Context: Provide a brief description of the client issue or problem that will be the focus of this assignment, along with relevant client background information, including dimensions of diversity/difference. Also, provide basic information about the setting or context for service delivery.
Evidence-Based Practice Question: Include a single practice question addressing an identified knowledge need related to client engagement, assessment, or intervention. While there are many types of questions and ways in which to develop an appropriate practice question, please keep your question very specific and focused on your selected client-of-focus. To assist you in developing your question, please refer to the question formulation content in your asynchronous material. It will be ideal to employ the PICO(T) framework in specifying the question.
Rationale/Significance of Problem: In one paragraph, address the significance of the question-of-focus. Students should provide a compelling argument for the importance of answering the proposed practice question and the role of the information in practice decisionmaking. Make sure to utilize and cite suitable resources from online reports, peer reviewed journals, and existing records as supporting references for your rationale.
Part 2: Summary and Critical Appraisal of the Body of Available Evidence (approximately 4-5 pages)
For the next stage of the direct practice- focused project for this course, students will locate, synthesize and critically appraise the best available scientific research evidence (including systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and/or individual/original empirical research studies) that addresses their respective practice question.
Students are asked to identify approximately 5-8 relevant, peer-reviewed empirical articles, preferably published within the past 5-7 (and not more than 10) years. In determining the exact number of references to use, please consider the evidence needed to help you establish a satisfactorily clear, confident, and complete answer. That is, relatively few articles may be needed if one or more highly relevant and applicable evidence syntheses are located; conversely, more articles will be needed if each provides a relatively more limited answer to the question.Students will then synthesize and critically appraise the selected group of articles as an aggregate body of available evidence for practice. In a narrative of approximately 4 double-spaced pages, you are asked to answer your practice question and to provide insightful, critical commentary on the strength, quality, extent, and relevance/applicability of the body of evidence. It is recommended that you provide specific attention to each of the following:
Answer to the Practice Question: Given the findings reported in the body of evidence reviewed, what is the best available answer you can assemble for the identified practice question?
Level of Evidence: Identification and appraisal of the overall level of evidence would address things such as the following: Where do the articles in this body of evidence fall in the evidence hierarchy? Is that consistent with what you would hope or expect to find for studies addressing the type of question you have asked?
Methodological Strength/Rigor of the Study Methods and Procedures: Address the general level of methodological strength or limitation of the studies in this body of evidence and the implications for the respective forms of validity (i.e., internal, external, measurement). Specifically: How strong were the sampling methods used and the resulting study samples? How strong were the measurement approaches and instruments? How strong were the designs used? How rigorously were the studies executed, procedurally? What are the validity-related implications of each?Applicability of Evidence: Comment on the degree to which the body of evidence presents findings that are applicable to your work with your client-of-focus, and identify the specific applications or limitations that you have identified. Some topics to consider include: How applicable and relevant are the findings from this body of evidence to your practice question? How confidently and/or completely does this knowledge guide your practice decisionmaking? What limitations or concerns might there be in applying the findings from the selected body of evidence to your work with your identified client?
While elements of individual articles will be highlighted (i.e., as an example) when making your assessment of the broader body of evidence, please be aware that this critical appraisal should not critique each article, in turn. Rather, critical commentary should address your observations and assessment of the broader body of relevant evidence as a whole. Support the rationale for your overall appraisals with reference to specific articles, as needed.
Please provide in-text citations where needed. The full list of the references for this body of literature should follow at the end of the assignment.
Academic Paper Formatting Guidelines (APA Manual 7th edition)The paper should be double-spaced, with 12-point font and 1-inch margins on all sides. Use subheadings to organize your paper, as necessary. Reference a minimum of five recent peer-reviewed empirical journal articles. Editorial and referencing styles specified in the APA Publication Manual 7th Edition can be found at: http://apastyle.apa.org/.The title page should be formatted as follows:
SOWK 635 [Current Semester]
Assignment #1: Evidence-Based Practice Question,Evidence Synthesis and Critical Appraisal
The evaluation of the assignment will be based on whether you addressed all aspects of the assignment, as well as the quality, completeness and clarity of your written work (graduate level writing, organization, flow, depth, mechanics of writing such as grammar, spelling, etc.).
Proofread your work and abide by the academic integrity guidelines. It is expected that students will be responsible for submitting their own work and not the work of other students. If you study with other students, be conscious of shaping and writing your own paper. Please note: Turnitin automatically scans all papers upon submission to the platform. Students found to be in violation of the academic integrity guidelines may be referred for judicial review. An overview of the Universitys guidelines on academic integrity can be found at the following URL: http://www.usc.edu/student-affairs/SJACS/forms/AcademicIntegrityOverview.pdf
Submit the assignment on time. Each instructor will decide upon the format of the submission either in class, via turn-it-in or emailed. The assignment will be penalized 4 points for each day it is late.