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Article

S. J. Dodd and Andrea Savage

Evidence-informed practice (EIP) is a model that incorporates best available research evidence; client’s needs, values, and preferences; practitioner wisdom; and theory into the clinical decision-making process filtered through the lens of client, agency, and community culture. The purpose of this article is to define and describe the evidence-informed practice model within social work and to explore the evolution of evidence-informed practice over time. The article distinguishes evidence-informed practice from the more commonly known (and perhaps more popular) evidence-based practice. And, having outlined the essential components of evidence-informed practice, describes the barriers to its effective implementation. Critical contextual factors related to the implementation of evidence-informed practice at the individual level, as well as within social work organizations, are also addressed. Finally, implications both for social work practice and education are explored.

Article

David E. Biegel and Susan Yoon

Research education at the bachelor’s and master’s levels has attempted to address concerns related to students’ purported lack of interest in research courses and graduates’ failure to conduct research as practitioners. Research education at the doctoral level has benefitted from a significant increase in the number of faculty members with federally funded research grants, although the quality of doctoral research training across programs is uneven. A continuum of specific objectives for research curricula at the baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral levels is needed to lead to clearer specifications of research knowledge and skills that should be taught in all schools of social work.

Article

Maria Roberts-DeGennaro

A generic set of case management functions are performed in most practice settings. To improve outcomes within a complex service delivery system, case managers need to collaboratively work with clients and care providers. By incorporating the paradigm of evidence-based practice, case managers can improve decision making through integrating their practice expertise with the best available evidence, and by considering the characteristics, circumstances, values, preferences, and expectations of clients, as well as their involvement in the decision making.

Article

Virginia Rondero Hernandez

Generalist and advanced generalist practice evolved out of a century-long debate about what constitutes social work practice. Generalist practice currently refers to the practice of a bachelor level social worker who demonstrates basic competencies in multilevel, multimethod approaches. Advanced generalist practice refers to the practice of a master social worker who possesses advanced competencies in multilevel, multimethod approaches and is equipped to work independently in complex environments that may require specialized skill sets. The definition and educational content of generalist and advanced generalist practice are poised to be influenced by national debate once again, as the profession examines the merits of evidence-based practice and implementation science and their implications for social work education.

Article

Allan Hugh Cole Jr.

This entry discusses principal ways in which knowledge and knowing have been understood within philosophy, science, and social science, with implications for contemporary social work practice. Attention is given to various types of knowledge, its necessary conditions, scope, and sources. It focuses particularly on how practice wisdom remains a key source of knowledge for social work theory and practice, and suggests that greater epistemological clarity could further competent social work practice in an increasingly pluralistic world.

Article

Thomas Packard

This article presents an overview of the field of organizational change as it applies to human service organizations (HSOs). It offers definitions, conceptual models, and perspectives for looking at organizational change and notes common reasons that organizational change efforts fail. The article takes the perspective of an agency executive or manager who has the responsibility for initiating and implementing a planned organizational change initiative. It offers a comprehensive, evidence-based model for tactics to use and steps to take, from assessing change readiness and change capacity to institutionalizing and evaluating change outcomes within the organization. Common change methods, including those particularly relevant to HSOs, such as implementation science, the use of consultants, and change efforts which can be initiated by lower-level employees, are reviewed A research agenda, with particular attention to change tactics, is offered.

Article

Steven L. McMurtry, Susan J. Rose, and Lisa K. Berger

Accurate measurement is essential for effective social work practice, but doing it well can be difficult. One solution is to use rapid assessment instruments (RAIs), which are brief scales that typically require less than 15 minutes to complete. Some are administered by practitioners, but most are self-administered on paper or electronically. RAIs are available for screening, initial assessment, monitoring of service progress, and outcome evaluation. Some require author permission, others are sold commercially, and many more are free and in the public domain. Selection of an RAI should be based first on its psychometric strength, including content, concurrent, and known-groups validity, as well as on types of reliability such as internal consistency, but practical criteria such as readability are also important. And when used in practice settings, RAIs should be part of a well-rounded measurement plan that also includes behavioral observations, client logs, unobtrusive measures, and other approaches.

Article

The major international governmental and nongovernmental organizations and their activities are discussed with reference to their global co-coordinating, advocacy, service, and research functions. Attention is also given to the work of international professional associations.