Alternative Title

Philosophy of science and evidence based practice in clinical social work

Publication Date


First Advisor

Jean LaTerz

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School for Social Work


Evidence based practice, Philosophy of science, Karl Popper, Logical positivism, Critical rationalism, Clinical social work, Evidence-based psychotherapy, Science-Philosophy, Rationalism, Psychotherapy


Evidence Based Practice is one of the most prevalent concepts in social work today, guiding social workers across the world. This theoretical thesis examines Evidence Based Practice, its theoretic foundations, and its application in social work, using the theories of Logical Positivism and Critical Rationalism from Philosophy of Science. Philosophy of Science is a branch in Philosophy that studies and theorizes about precisely what science is, how science works, the implications of science, and the logic behind it. This thesis argues that Logical Positivism is the scientific foundation that Evidence Based Practice rests on, and uses Critical rationalism to dispute Evidence Based Practice’s theoretic foundation. The conclusions were that we should be concerned about EBP affecting the future development of therapy, that it creates the possibility of harm when used in policymaking, that we should not be favoring one theory over another just because one has more supporting research, and the idea that theories can be proven is impossible.




ii, 51 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work,2017. Includes bibliographical references (pages 48-51)