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How to use evidence based practice to produce more effective assessments

Health and Social Care professionals can now book onto our new Evidence Based Practice training course, one of the newest workshops to join our course schedule. But what does this mean, and why would it be of interest?

Here, our course trainer, Gretchen Precey explains more...

It is an essential part of social work practice that evidence is used to support the analysis and recommendations in every assessment we do. But what do we mean by evidence? Is it only the findings from research and knowledge of erudite theoretical frameworks that count as evidence?

The evidence base in social work practice

Evidence is not just based on academic knowledge or opinions by experts. Evidence is the information that we use to back up our position on many different issues and can be sourced from what we observe directly in our interaction with clients, what we hear from others who are also involved, what we read in the file as well as what research has to offer about some of the key social work constructs such as attachment theory.

Is evidence the ‘truth’?

Social work is based much more on subjectivity than objectivity and contains more opinion than fact. We are people dealing with people and, as such, we bring our own values, background and belief systems to the work we do. This is why two people doing a joint home visit to the same family may come away with very different impressions of the family’s situation. Evidence may not be the truth but it is a very important component in giving substance and credibility to the professional opinions we express in our work.

Self-reflection and evidence

Because the person of the worker and the relationships we establish in the work we do with clients is the most important resource we have in our professional toolbox it is important that workers are aware of themselves and their own bias in how we gather and use evidence.

The one-day workshop that I will be facilitating on the 31st October will explore all of these issues and give you the opportunity to think about and apply these ideas to your own practice. And to produce more effective assessments as a result.

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