Evidence Discovery and Assessment in Social Work Practice
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Evidence Discovery and Assessment in Social Work Practice

Noted as an IGI Global Core Reference Title in Government & Law for 2019.

Margaret Pack (Australian Catholic University, Australia) and Justin Cargill (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)
Indexed In: SCOPUS View 1 More Indices
Release Date: October, 2014|Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 402
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6563-7
ISBN13: 9781466665637|ISBN10: 1466665637|EISBN13: 9781466665644
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Description & Coverage

Social workers play a crucial part in contemporary society by ensuring that individuals are able to address, overcome, and manage obstacles in their daily lives. In an effort to better serve their clients, many practitioners have turned to evidence-based practice.

Evidence Discovery and Assessment in Social Work Practice provides practitioners with the tools necessary to locate, analyze, and apply the latest empirical research findings in the field to their individual practice. This premier reference work provides insights and support to professionals and researchers working in the fields of social work, counseling, psychotherapy, case management, and psychology.


The many academic areas covered in this publication include, but are not limited to:

  • Clinical Work Supervision
  • Gender and Relationship Counseling
  • High-Tech Neurosurgery
  • Inter-Agency Collaboration
  • Self-Care
  • Spiritual Approaches
  • Therapeutic Group Work
  • Youth Justice
Reviews and Testimonials

The concept of evidence, specifically when applied to social work practice, remains contested: important yet fraught with definitional problems and ‘tribal’ allegiances. This book brings together an erudite panoply of excellent chapters from academia and practice that demonstrate the contest is worthy of the struggle. Whatever particular approach we each take to social work practice, or indeed to our understanding of it, it is most likely that we are all committed to ensuring the best possible outcomes for those we are working with, and it is this striving that is situated at the heart of the chapters of this book. The reach of the chapters, from the theoretical to practice with people who have experienced sexual abuse, mental health problems, the traumas associated with being a refugee through to working with spiritual needs offers much to contemporary social work that can be understood, adapted and applied in many countries. A welcome and ethical endeavour!

– Professor Jonathan Parker, Bournemouth University, UK

This book is a ground breaking overview of the nature of evidence-based interventions and their application to social work practice. The editors have done an outstanding job in enlisting the expertise of top academics and practitioners from disparate fields. The book has a number of excellent general chapters on evidence-based practice, and also describes specific applications of this approach to different client groups. This publication will be of real interest to busy social workers and will prove invaluable when they are searching for effective and ethical interventions.

– Professor Tony Ward, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

This innovative volume promises to advance discerning debates along with the strategic infusion of evidence based practices into social work. This is an inclusionary book as the many sources of evidence promoted include the perspectives of those served. Cutting edge chapters on practice with diverse populations along with a unique section on self-care for social workers makes this book a most valuable 21st century resource.

– Professor Katharine Briar-Lawson, State University of New York, USA

This is an ambitious and wide-ranging book which revisits the perennial question for social work practice of what counts as evidence and how do we assess its value and meaning. Importantly, the book helps us to understand that evidence to inform practice is vital, but at the same time that what counts as evidence is diverse (and contested), and that we must be thoughtful and discerning in our approach to it.

– Professor Roger Smith, Durham University, UK

A most welcome addition to the growing literature on the applications of the model of evidence-based practice to social work. A particular strength are the chapters describing how practitioners can track down the best available evidence dealing with important practice decisions, such as becoming informed as to the evidentiary status of particular psychosocial interventions. This book was a pleasure to read and contains chapters by a really excellent set of contributing authors….It is heartening to see such a well-crafted work….This is a mature and sophisticated treatment of how the evidence-based practice model for clinical decision-making can inform social work assessment and treatment.

– Professor Bruce A. Thyer, Florida State University, USA

This excellent contribution to social work research and practice brings together leading scholars in the field to evaluate the debates and contributions of evidence related approaches. The book is cutting edge in its range and depth of applications and will make a much needed and valuable contribution to social work.

– Professor Stephen A. Webb, Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, UK

Writing for both beginning and experienced social workers, instructors and practitioners describe the process of discovering and assessing evidence in social work. In sections on framing the search for evidence, social work fields of practice, and self-care for social workers, they consider such topics as finding the evidence for practice in social work, contemporary challenges in social work practice and mental health care, making a measurable difference, recruiting and engaging men as fathers in social work practice, and best practice in responding to critical incidents and potentially traumatic experience within an organizational setting.

– ProtoView Book Abstracts (formerly Book News, Inc.)

A useful addition to the growing literature that advocates a more conscientious use of evidence in social work….The focus is firmly on the needs and expectations of the social work practitioner. The case studies and scenarios used throughout the chapters should also resonate with managers tasked with supporting practitioners in the areas of judgement, fostering access to resources and providing supervision that questions social work practice critically and constructively….The introductory chapter on ‘Why Search for Evidence in Practice’ does a stirling job in unravelling the many misunderstandings and misconceptions of evidence-based practice….As such this chapter and all the chapters in Section 1 may appeal to social work educators….Their addition on any reading list of the evidence informed syllabus would be an asset.

– Anne McGlade, Social Care and Children Directorate, Health and Social Care Board, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Innovative edited text….[Pack] discusses how social work as a profession has effectively challenged the predominant ‘scientific’ definitions of ‘evidence’ and traditional research methods, and has instead embraced a range of research methods which support exploring the narratives of service users and carers as primary sources of evidence….I will certainly include many parts of it within my own teaching on research development….I heartily recommend this book to all readers whether they are academics teaching research, practitioners looking to improve their knowledge of evidence-informed practice, or social care managers wishing to enhance service quality through enhancing reflective assessment and establishing a culture of research-informed practice.

– Professor David Nilsson, Kingston University, UK.

A concern to help clients is evident throughout the book, as is attention to social policies and related funding sources and patterns, organisational practices, cultural differences and ethical issues….This book offers examples of how social workers view and use evidence in a variety of settings; it invites readers to explore these uses.

– Professor Eileen Gambrill, University of California, Berkeley, CA

There is much of value contained within this book including knowledge about different fields of practice, explorations of the interrelationships between research, policy, and service provision, insights into consumer roles in defining evidence, cultural perspectives on evidence, the “how-to” of conducting a search for research evidence, reassurance regarding the “messy” and “dirty” aspects of social work practice and discussion on the place of theory in relating evidence to practice.

– Professor Debbie Plath, Debbie Plath Consulting, Newcastle NSW
Table of Contents
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Editor/Author Biographies
Margaret Pack is Associate Professor of Social Work and Deputy Head of School, Allied Health Australian Catholic University, Sydney, Australia. Her research interests include trauma and stress, theories of clinician self-care, and social workers’ theories for practice. She has worked in a national sexual abuse trauma centre with survivors of sexual abuse trauma as specialist case manager. Her career has included practice as a mental health social worker, where she has developed new services and managed staff as a team leader. Originally from New Zealand, she coordinated a national post graduate programme at Victoria University of Wellington and led a team of social work academics at Charles Darwin University, Northern Territory. She now lives and works in Australia.
Justin Cargill, Subject Librarian, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Justin Cargill has served as a reference librarian at Victoria University of Wellington since 1989 and in 2000 became the subject librarian for the University’s Graduate School of Nursing, Midwifery, and Health. He works closely with staff and students providing teaching, learning, and research support. This includes research consultancy services and training in literature searching and research skills.
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