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

Appraising Surveys

Appraising surveys


The survey is one of the most commonly used methods of gathering data from an entire group or a subsection of that group. We are constantly bombarded by letters, telephone calls, emails and texts asking for our demographics, our experience or our opinions. Surveys are popular because they are a relatively simple and effective means to explore concepts, describe populations or explain the relationship between two factors. Survey methods, like other forms of research, are subject to error but careful design and implementation can enhance validity and reliability. Before accepting survey findings or applying them to practice, the reader must be sure that they have been gathered and analysed correctly. This chapter will describe the key components of the survey method ...

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