Finding the Evidence for Practice in Social Work

Finding the Evidence for Practice in Social Work

Justin Cargill (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 29
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6563-7.ch002
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The revolution in information technologies, in particular the growth of the Internet and greater access to computers, has given social workers unprecedented access to information resources. Researching such resources is crucial and it needs to be done efficiently. Planning an efficient search requires knowing which databases and other resources to use, knowing how to formulate an answerable question, identifying terms that inform the question, selecting the appropriate methodological filters, and being able to critically appraise evidence for its quality and relevance. This chapter, therefore, outlines some of the research sources available to social workers, it looks at some principles for finding information for practice in social work, and it outlines some criteria for evaluating the quality of that information.
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Rapidly evolving information technologies have given social workers unprecedented access to information resources. At some point, the social work practitioner will be faced with determining which sources will provide access to the most useful material. Squandering time and energy searching in the wrong place is disheartening.

There is little point listing in this chapter a comprehensive range of sources in social work available through the Internet. It is an interesting but discouraging exercise to explore such lists only to find that the organisations and groups no longer exist or the web addresses have changed. There is little that dates a text which includes such a list, so much as this.

Having said all this by way of qualification, below is something akin to a list. It also, however, provides some explanatory material describing the context and the utility of these sources and it has the virtue of identifying websites that are not likely to disappear. It includes sources for systematic reviews and bibliographic databases and concludes with some comment about grey literature. Many of these resources may be familiar and well-utilised. This list does not pretend to be comprehensive. It is presented merely to give an idea of the range of sources available.

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