Evidence-based Social Work: A Critical Stance

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Nonspecific Binding
  • Copyright: 2009-06-17
  • Publisher: Routledge

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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 and illuminates how adopting the methodology and language of evidence-based practice fundamentally alters the conditions under which social work takes place.

Author Biography

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.

Table of Contents

List of illustrationsp. xi
Acknowledgementsp. xii
Introductionp. xiv
New horizons in evidencep. 1
Introducing the key conceptsp. 4
Evidencep. 4
Evidence-based practicep. 6
Evidence-based social workp. 9
Evidence-based knowledgep. 11
Contested knowledge: what the philosophers have to sayp. 13
Information- or evidence-based?p. 16
A process of formalizationp. 19
Social work's reception of evidence-based practicep. 22
Correcting some mythsp. 25
empiricism is the only way of knowingp. 25
evidence-based practice is an epistemologyp. 25
if we provide the evidence, practitioners will apply itp. 25
the proper pursuit of knowledge is always conducive to improved practicep. 26
evidence-based practice is Only a medical modelp. 26
evidence-based practice exclusively involves applying evidence to decision-makingp. 26
Conclusionp. 27
The 'gold standard' of evidencep. 28
The hierarchy of evidencep. 31
Randomized controlled trialsp. 31
Quasi-experimental studiesp. 34
Single-case (single-system or time-series) designsp. 34
Cohort studiesp. 35
Case control studiesp. 35
Qualitative studiesp. 36
Practice wisdom and expert opinionp. 36
Debating the hierarchyp. 37
Systematic reviewsp. 39
Case examplesp. 41
Critiquing the systematic review: does it work?p. 45
Meta-analysis for research synthesisp. 47
Evidence for practice: The challenges of implementationp. 48
Framing social work knowledgep. 51
Positivist evidence-based social workp. 53
When is a positivist approach appropriate?p. 54
Limitations and prospects for a positivist approach to evidence-based social workp. 55
Positivism and ethical responsibilityp. 57
Critical thinking, professional judgement and professional authority within a positivist perspectivep. 59
Pragmatic evidence-based social workp. 60
When is a pragmatic approach appropriate?p. 61
Limitations and prospects for a pragmatic approach to evidence-based social workp. 62
Ethical responsibility and pragmatismp. 63
Critical thinking, professional judgement and professional authority within a pragmatist perspectivep. 63
Political evidence-based social workp. 64
When is a political approach appropriate?p. 65
Limitations and prospects for a political approach to evidence-based social workp. 66
Ethical responsibility and the political approachp. 67
Critical thinking, professional judgement and professional authority within a political perspectivep. 67
Postmodern evidence-based social workp. 67
When is a postmodern approach appropriate?p. 68
Limitations and prospects for a postmodern approach to evidence-based social workp. 69
Ethical responsibility and the postmodern approachp. 70
Critical thinking, professional judgement and professional authority within a postmodern perspectivep. 70
Where to for evidence-based social work?p. 71
A critical realist perspective for evidence-based social workp. 72
Conclusionp. 73
Globalizing the evidencep. 76
USAp. 78
Research-for-practicep. 79
Empirically supported interventionsp. 82
Evidence-based practicep. 86
Organizing the evidence-based practice infrastructurep. 87
The Campbell Collaborationp. 89
Programming the evidencep. 93
Globalizing evidencep. 95
Europe (including scandinavia)p. 95
Asia-Pacific regionp. 104
Other international contextsp. 108
Some commonalities across contextsp. 109
Global mobilization of evidence-based practicep. 109
Conclusionp. 111
Forming the evidence networkp. 114
Adopting the talk?p. 115
UK case study: from knowledge to productionp. 116
The Campbell Collaborationp. 119
Centre for Evidence-Based social servicesp. 123
Flying high with SCIEp. 126
Barnett House, Oxford: from reformism to rapprochement?p. 131
The Platt Review: hardening the evidence-based agendap. 132
Hardening the evidence networkp. 136
The Realpolitik of evidencep. 138
Conclusionp. 141
Making evidence a reality?p. 144
Barriers to implementationp. 147
Macro factorsp. 148
Micro factorsp. 150
Implementation or knowledge transfer?p. 161
The practitioner perspectivep. 166
Mobilizing knowledge in actionp. 169
Research for practicep. 169
Evidence-based practice is not just about what the practitioner doesp. 170
Critical appraisal works both waysp. 172
The practitioner's perspectivep. 174
Arenas of evidence-based practicep. 175
The policy arenap. 175
The social service organizationp. 178
The multi-disciplinary practice arenap. 179
Evidence-based teamsp. 179
Direct work with clients, groups and communitiesp. 181
Evidence-based social work in actionp. 182
Pragmatic approach to social workp. 186
'This ain't reality TV'p. 188
Referencesp. 190
Indexp. 213
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