Research and practice
It is now widely understood that professional practice must be informed
by research and that students should also learn how to take this approach.
This idea is not new, but the idea of evidence-based practice has gained
a higher profile in recent years. For example, Tripodi (1974) asserted
that many of the processes and skills used in professional practice
also support research work. He drew a parallel between the main tasks
of the social worker and the researcher:
|Determine intervention plan
|Evaluate intervention effects
||Analysis of data
|Review and termination
Others have made a philosophical argument about the inter-dependence
of professional practice and research, including how the combination
can be mutually enriching. This resource aims to show you how to build
those bridges between research, learning and practice, so that research-mindedness
becomes an every-day perspective that informs what you do and how you
Abstract of a social work community task involving
|A care manager in an elderly person's team in a Social
Services Department wanted information on local voluntary groups
willing to visit elderly people to provide a friendly contact, especially
in cold weather. A list of such groups already existed in the office,
but the care manager suspected it was out of date and possibly incomplete.
She wrote to each of the groups on the list to ask whether they
still visited elderly people, and if so how many volunteers they
had available. She also wrote to local faith organisations and other
relevant groups, as well as asking her colleagues, in an effort
to identify new groups.
The techniques and skills used include:
- firstly searching systematically for existing sources of
- only when these had been scrutinised, looking for new information.
The care manager used local knowledge and contacts to spread the
net for new groups, and asked a couple of questions of each so
as to establish whether they did visiting and how much they could
take on. Once gathered the data was used to provide a resource
for all staff in the office.