Using findings out of context
This is a particular hazard in the social care arena, especially for
research into the effectiveness of particular projects or schemes. A
scheme to provide support and advice for lone mothers was extremely
successful and produced measurable changes in the quality of life for
the women involved across a range of social, personal and economic measures.
However it does not follow that the scheme can be replicated equally
successfully in other towns by other staff with other groups of lone
mothers. It may be but what is needed is for the research to identify
as accurately as possible the factors that enabled success and those
that hindered it.
||Was it about how the work was planned and the consultation
||Was it about charismatic leadership and/or committed workers?
||Was it about a particular group of lone mothers who responded
in a certain way?
||Was it the location or the premises, the building itself - or
||What other factors were at work?
For example a small-scale study into the use of Section 47 enquiries
in a London Borough revealed trends in practice that were influenced
heavily by population diversity and the transience of social work staff.
The research report's findings were very useful as an internal planning
aid for the local authority concerned, but the key messages would have
little resonance for, say, a rural authority with a traditionally stable