The practice research network: Research into practice, practice into research

Howard B. Smith, Thomas H. Sexton, Loretta J. Bradley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The purpose of the broader project on which this report is based was to utilize a Practice Research Network, an alternative to traditional clinical studies to 1) identify demographically one practice group, namely professional counselors in the United States, 2) describe their practice patterns, and 3) identify their client population and the efficacy of their clinical work through client outcomes based on actual client reports. This article describes the development of one such nation-wide Practice Research Network (PRN) and provides some preliminary findings for each phase of the project. Use of the PRN model can help overcome the traditional “research to practice” gap and provide research results into community practice thus integrating outcomes measures into the daily practice of mental health professionals. During the early phases of this project, a software program was developed upon which the participating practitioners could identify the data elements within the parameters of the focus on their agreed-upon research interests, enter data following client visits over time, and by comparing their own composite profiles and effectiveness with those of other participating practitioners who had clients presenting with similar diagnoses, could alter their own service delivery patterns, therapeutic interventions, or approaches while working with the clients and thereby improve the efficacy of their service. By participating, the practitioners benefited by access to downloadable and printable reports on profiles of 1) their specific clients, 2) their service delivery patterns, and 3) the outcomes or efficacy by their clients’ direct feedback. They were also able to compare these results with the composite data from other practitioners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-290
Number of pages6
JournalCounselling and Psychotherapy Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005


  • Accountability
  • Practice Research Network (PRN)
  • client outcomes
  • efficacy of counseling/psychotherapy
  • evidence-based clinical decisions
  • practitioner effectiveness


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