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Understanding and Using Research in Social Work

Understanding and Using Research in Social Work

October 2015 | 192 pages | Learning Matters
How do social work students learn to use research to underpin their practice decisions? How do they learn that research is not an activity unconnected to their professional role and responsibilities, but rather acts as a foundation for their knowledge?

By using the examples drawn from evidence-based practice (e.g. what is known to work and what we know about social work processes), the authors deliver a text that will help support students to appraise and then integrate research into both their daily practice decisions and their assignments and assessments. It will do this by defining key concepts like 'knowledge' and 'evidence' and then look at how these concepts include component parts - from law and legislation to practice knowledge and reflective and critical practice. Case examples are used to illustrate how a clear understanding of these component parts can build to a substantial evidence base from which to draw upon. Identifying relevant research and appraising its quality are core aspects of the book. Later chapters show students how robust knowledge of evidence-based practice can develop into a clear and confident approach to their workloads and their daily practice dilemmas.
What is Knowledge and How Does it Inform Practice?
Practice Questions and Research Types
Identifying Relevant Research
Appraising Surveys
Appraising Qualitative Studies
Appraising Studies of Effectiveness
Synthesising Research
Getting Research Knowledge into Practice within Organisations

This is essential reading for social workers and social students contemplating and embarking on research and research reviews. It reviews and examines critical issues and approaches in an accessible way with many examples of social work related research.

Dr Harriet Churchill
Department Of Sociological Studies, University of Sheffield
November 20, 2016

Very contemporary and relevant to social work practice in particular in a culture where such a text and practice itself is so important. Clearly set out and accessible for students.

Mrs Kay Wall
Applied Professional Studies, Worcester University
November 10, 2016

Useful supportive text for research students in this field

Ms Karen Hillison
Department of Social Work, Hull University
November 2, 2016

This book has been recommended for a postgraduate course undertaken by professional social workers. It is particularly useful for individuals who are not necessarily actively undertaking research but want to understand both its relevance and how its quality can be assessed. The text is well laid out and accompanied by very useful case studies and research summaries.

Dr Robert J Hagan
Department of Sociology & Applied Social Studies, University of Ulster
July 22, 2016

This book is pitched at exactly the right level for my second year social work students so will become a core text. I would have liked to see some discussion about the contested nature of evidence-based practice and a brief mention of research philosophy with an outline of different epistemological positions, but aside from these minor improvements, this book is an excellent resource.

Mrs Emma Reith-Hall
Social Work, Health, Soc Care & Couns, Nottingham Trent University
March 10, 2016

A good starter book for apprentice researchers

Dr Andy Wills
School of Social Work, University of Plymouth
September 30, 2015

Succinct focused and very well written with up to the minute insights on key issues. Excellent book.

Mr Sean McEntee
Department of Social Work, Ulster University
September 25, 2015

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Brian J. Taylor

Professor Brian Taylor is course director for the MSc in Professional Development in Social Work at the University of Ulster.. Brian had a lead role in contributing to the development of a new post qualifying education and training framework for social work in Northern Ireland (2005-07) and the development of new programmes in partnership with all major employers of social workers. His major area of research is decision-making in social work as well as evidence based practice. He is editor of Working with Agression and Resistance in Social Work. More About Author

Campbell Killick

Campbell Killick is Research Officer (Social Work), South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, Northern Ireland.  More About Author

Anne McGlade

Anne McGlade has been Social Care Research Lead for the Social Care and Children’s Directorate, Health and Social Care Board since October 2013. She is the lead on the development of the Research and Continuous Improvement Strategy (2015–2020) In Pursuit of Excellence in Evidence Informed Social Work Services in Northern Ireland. She has a long-standing career working in research and evaluation research in health and social care and other settings in England and Northern Ireland. She has a keen interest in the needs of older people, people with disabilities and people from black and minority ethnic groups. She has undertaken and published... More About Author

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