Evidence-based Social Work: A Critical Stance

Evidence-based Social Work: A Critical Stance

by Mel Gray, Debbie Plath, Stephen Webb
     
 

ISBN-10: 0415468221

ISBN-13: 9780415468220

Pub. Date: 06/17/2009

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Evidence-based practice is now a core element of many governments' approaches to policy-making and social intervention. It has become a powerful movement that promises to change the content and structure of social work and its allied professions. Its emergence has generated much debate and raised challenging questions, however, particularly at the interface of

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Overview

Evidence-based practice is now a core element of many governments' approaches to policy-making and social intervention. It has become a powerful movement that promises to change the content and structure of social work and its allied professions. Its emergence has generated much debate and raised challenging questions, however, particularly at the interface of research, policy, and practice.

This book provides a critical analysis of evidence-based practice in social work. It introduces readers to the fast changing research, policy, legislative, and practice context. It discusses what constitutes knowledge in social work, the values and beliefs that lie behind EBP and problems of implementation, formalisation and resource management. Reflecting on the challenges of transferring evidence-based practice to frontline social work practice, the authors argue that social work practice is not easily measured and systematised into best practice guidelines that disseminate proven diagnostic and effective intervention knowledge.

Using Actor Network Theory for the first time in the social work literature, Evidence-based Social Work illuminates how adopting the methodology and language of evidence-based practice fundamentally alters the conditions under which social work takes place. This book is vital reading for academics, practitioners, and students with an interest in contemporary social work practice and research.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780415468220
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
06/17/2009
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.40(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations xi

Acknowledgements xii

Introduction xiv

1 New horizons in evidence 1

Introducing the key concepts 4

Evidence 4

Evidence-based practice 6

Evidence-based social work 9

Evidence-based knowledge 11

Contested knowledge: what the philosophers have to say 13

Information- or evidence-based? 16

A process of formalization 19

Social work's reception of evidence-based practice 22

Correcting some myths 25

Myth 1 empiricism is the only way of knowing 25

Myth 2 evidence-based practice is an epistemology 25

Myth 3 if we provide the evidence, practitioners will apply it 25

Myth 4 the proper pursuit of knowledge is always conducive to improved practice 26

Myth 5 evidence-based practice is Only a medical model 26

Myth 6 evidence-based practice exclusively involves applying evidence to decision-making 26

Conclusion 27

2 The 'gold standard' of evidence 28

The hierarchy of evidence 31

Randomized controlled trials 31

Quasi-experimental studies 34

Single-case (single-system or time-series) designs 34

Cohort studies 35

Case control studies 35

Qualitative studies 36

Practice wisdom and expert opinion 36

Debating the hierarchy 37

Systematic reviews 39

Case examples 41

Critiquing the systematic review: does it work? 45

Meta-analysis for research synthesis 47

Evidence for practice: The challenges of implementation 48

3 Framing social work knowledge 51

Positivist evidence-based social work 53

When is a positivist approach appropriate? 54

Limitations and prospects for a positivist approach to evidence-based social work 55

Positivism and ethical responsibility 57

Critical thinking, professional judgementand professional authority within a positivist perspective 59

Pragmatic evidence-based social work 60

When is a pragmatic approach appropriate? 61

Limitations and prospects for a pragmatic approach to evidence-based social work 62

Ethical responsibility and pragmatism 63

Critical thinking, professional judgement and professional authority within a pragmatist perspective 63

Political evidence-based social work 64

When is a political approach appropriate? 65

Limitations and prospects for a political approach to evidence-based social work 66

Ethical responsibility and the political approach 67

Critical thinking, professional judgement and professional authority within a political perspective 67

Postmodern evidence-based social work 67

When is a postmodern approach appropriate? 68

Limitations and prospects for a postmodern approach to evidence-based social work 69

Ethical responsibility and the postmodern approach 70

Critical thinking, professional judgement and professional authority within a postmodern perspective 70

Where to for evidence-based social work? 71

A critical realist perspective for evidence-based social work 72

Conclusion 73

4 Globalizing the evidence 76

USA 78

Research-for-practice 79

Empirically supported interventions 82

Evidence-based practice 86

Organizing the evidence-based practice infrastructure 87

The Campbell Collaboration 89

Programming the evidence 93

Globalizing evidence 95

Europe (including scandinavia) 95

Asia-Pacific region 104

Other international contexts 108

Some commonalities across contexts 109

Global mobilization of evidence-based practice 109

Conclusion 111

5 Forming the evidence network 114

Adopting the talk? 115

UK case study: from knowledge to production 116

The Campbell Collaboration 119

Centre for Evidence-Based social services 123

Flying high with SCIE 126

Barnett House, Oxford: from reformism to rapprochement? 131

The Platt Review: hardening the evidence-based agenda 132

Hardening the evidence network 136

The Realpolitik of evidence 138

Conclusion 141

6 Making evidence a reality? 144

Barriers to implementation 147

Macro factors 148

Micro factors 150

Implementation or knowledge transfer? 161

Conclusion

7 The practitioner perspective 166

Mobilizing knowledge in action 169

Research for practice 169

Evidence-based practice is not just about what the practitioner does 170

Critical appraisal works both ways 172

The practitioner's perspective 174

Arenas of evidence-based practice 175

The policy arena 175

The social service organization 178

The multi-disciplinary practice arena 179

Evidence-based teams 179

Direct work with clients, groups and communities 181

Evidence-based social work in action 182

Pragmatic approach to social work 186

'This ain't reality TV' 188

References 190

Index 213

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