The current investigation is a follow-up from a previous study examining child language diagnostic decision making in school-based speech-language pathologists (SLPs). The purpose of this study was to examine the SLPs' perspectives regarding the use of evidence-based practice (EBP) in their clinical work.


Semistructured phone interviews were conducted with 25 school-based SLPs who previously participated in an earlier study by Fulcher-Rood et al. 2018). SLPs were asked questions regarding their definition of EBP, the value of research evidence, contexts in which they implement scientific literature in clinical practice, and the barriers to implementing EBP.


SLPs' definitions of EBP differed from current definitions, in that SLPs only included the use of research findings. SLPs seem to discuss EBP as it relates to treatment and not assessment. Reported barriers to EBP implementation were insufficient time, limited funding, and restrictions from their employment setting. SLPs found it difficult to translate research findings to clinical practice. SLPs implemented external research evidence when they did not have enough clinical expertise regarding a specific client or when they needed scientific evidence to support a strategy they used.


SLPs appear to use EBP for specific reasons and not for every clinical decision they make. In addition, SLPs rely on EBP for treatment decisions and not for assessment decisions. Educational systems potentially present other challenges that need to be considered for EBP implementation. Considerations for implementation science and the research-to-practice gap are discussed.


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