Speech and language therapists' understanding and adoption of evidence-based practice

Danielle Stephens, Dominic Upton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Aim: This review aimed to explore the knowledge, understanding and attitudes held by speech and language therapists (SLTs) to evidence-based practice (EBP). Furthermore, it addresses the adoption of such a framework and how it could be increased within SLT's professional practice.

Method: The review included research conducted between 1998 and 2011. Academic Search Complete, CINAHL Plus, PsycArticles, Medline, Ingenta, Science Direct, JSTOR and Google Scholar, were searched using the terms 'Evidence-Based Practice', 'Speech and Language Therapists' and 'Clinical Practice'.

Results: Research predominantly reports limited engagement with EBP. Findings continuously demonstrate how SLTs lack the skills required in order to conduct literature searches and assess relevant research evidence. Furthermore, the research base available to SLTs is of low level quality due to focusing principally on efficacy rather than effectiveness. Additionally, many barriers are evident, including lack of time, resources, skills and understanding, which prevent both conducting research and the implementation of EBP.

Conclusion: Although SLTs tend to display high positive regard for EBP, these attitudes are rarely translated into practice. Due to the inadequacy of the current research base available to SLTs it is essential for SLT researchers and practitioners to combine efforts in order to ensure the reliability of future research. This will enable the expansion of relevant research whilst continually promoting EBP and SLT as a discipline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-332
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


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