Evidence-based Social Work: A Critical Stance

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Evidence-based practice (EBP) 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 intereface 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 contexts. It discusses what constitutes knowledge in social work, the values and beliefs that lie behind evidence-based practice, and the problems of implementation, formalization and resouces management. Reflecting on the challenges of transferring evidence based practice to frontline social work practice, Gray, Plath and Webb argue that social work practice is not easily measured and systematized 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, practioners and students with an interest in contemporary social work practice and research.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'This is the first book on Evidence-based Practice to address issues with an international scope for those social work researchers, practitioners and educators who use the English language in their work. As such, it is truly ground breaking, and is certain to affect the practice and teaching of social workers around the world.' - Professor Joel Fischer, University of Hawai'i, USA

'Important, challenging, and provocative contribution to the debate on evidence-based social work... Critical stances offered by the authors will help proponents of EBSWP improve the approach. An actor network model to explore dimensions of EBSWP makes it exciting. Reading this book is a must.' - Dr Haluk Soydan, University of Southern California, USA

'This authoritative and timely book will be appreciated greatly by all students, teaching staff and practitioners who are concerned about evidence-based practice in social work.' - Professor Viviene E. Cree, University of Edinburgh, UK

'This new volume is a very useful contribution to the ongoing disciplinary-wide dialog of this remarkable new perspective on how to help practitioners make important decisions related to assessment and intervention.' - Professor Bruce A. Thyer, Florida State University, USA

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415468237
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 6/17/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Mel Gray is Professor of Social Work and a full-time researcher in the Institute for Social Well-being at the University of Newcastle, Australia.

Debbie Plath is Senior Lecturer in Social Work in the School of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Newcastle, Australia.

Stephen A. Webb is Professor of Human Sciences and Director of the Institute for Social Well-being at the University of Newcastle, Australia.

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Table of Contents

Contents: 1. Evidence: New Horizons in Social Work 2. The Evolution of Evidence-based Perspectives 3. What is Evidence-based Practice? 4. Framing the Knowledge base in Social Work 5. Just a Formality: Formalization and Standardization 6. Reality Check: Making Evidence a Reality 7. Tribunals of Reason: Directions for Evidence-based Practice?

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