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

Identifying Relevant Research

Identifying relevant research

Introduction

This chapter focuses on how to identify relevant research to use to inform practice. The place of peer-reviewed journal articles as the main mechanism for disseminating current research is explained. Major bibliographic databases relevant to social work are identified and their potential discussed. Effective and efficient ways to search these are explained and illustrated. We consider the potential and limitations of using the Internet to retrieve robust research and the use of ‘grey literature’. Other methods of retrieving relevant research such as ‘hand searching’ and contacting authors are explained. The chapter concludes with a consideration of measuring the quality of a search and recording the search process. As with research methods itself, this is a topic where the various ...

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