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Challenges in EBP Ratings

Determining whether an intervention is evidence-based can be challenging for many reasons. It is important to keep the following in mind when viewing ratings:


Thoroughly investigating whether an intervention is evidence-based can require extensive and time-consuming work.

There are EBP resources available, but they do not always agree on a program’s effectiveness.

Specific information about an EBP may be difficult to locate.

Ratings of EBPs may have been completed at different points in time. Often, they are presented in varying formats and may include different research.

Research findings can be complicated to read and interpret.

Evidence standards vary by the resource producing the effectiveness rating.

Claims of effectiveness and evidence standards made by developers or vendors of a program/intervention may be misleading and/or not backed by rigorous research.

Various terms are used to describe the effectiveness of programs or practices: evidence-based, research-based, research-validated, research-informed, best practice, recommended practice, promising practice, etc. These terms are used inconsistently and interchangeably. Sometimes these programs/interventions are backed by rigorous research, and other times they are not.

From the standpoint of the developers of an intervention, randomized control trials are expensive and time-consuming to conduct in order to provide evidence of effectiveness. Therefore, not all developers are able to conduct this level of research.