Social Work Faculty Publications

In Search of Evidence-Informed Pedagogy for International Field Education: A Narrative Review

Michael Sherr, Cedarville University
Melissa D. Brown,



The authors examined the current state of available evidence to inform pedagogical practices for improving international field education.


The comprehensive search followed the PRISMA checklist for reviews. After outlining specific inclusion criteria, four syntax combinations were used to search five different search engines.


The authors identified 17 articles that met the inclusion criteria. The articles included seven background/expert opinion (level VII), four case studies (level VI), and six cross-sectional cohort studies (level V). None of the articles examined pedagogical practices, compared competency outcomes with students in traditional field education, or used randomized control groups.


The current state of the literature informing international field education is anecdotal and minimal. A shift is needed away from conceptual and descriptive research to evaluation of outcomes to enhance the available evidence. Research comparing outcomes between students in international field education with students in traditional field education is especially needed.


Though hoping to find research to improve a program, the authors discovered an area of research in need of immediate attention.