Evidence-based practice: The psychology of EBP implementation

Denise M. Rousseau, Brian C. Gunia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Evidence-based practice (EBP) is an approach used in numerous professions that focuses attention on evidence quality in decision making and action. We review research on EBP implementation, identifying critical underlying psychological factors facilitating and impeding its use. In describing EBP and the forms of evidence it employs, we highlight the challenges individuals face in appraising evidence quality, particularly that of their personal experience. We next describe critical EBP competencies and the challenges underlying their acquisition: foundational competencies of critical thinking and domain knowledge, and functional competencies such as question formulation, evidence search and appraisal, and outcome evaluation. We then review research on EBP implementation across diverse fields from medicine to management and organize findings around three key contributors to EBP: practitioner ability, motivation, and opportunity to practice (AMO). Throughout, important links between psychology and EBP are highlighted, along with the contributions psychological research can make to further EBP development and implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)667-692
Number of pages26
JournalAnnual review of psychology
StatePublished - Jan 4 2016


  • Critical thinking
  • Decision supports
  • Evidence appraisal
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Practice-oriented evidence
  • Protocols and checklists

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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