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Evidence-Based Social Work – Towards a New Professionalism?

Peter Sommerfeld

Evidence-based practice is a movement deriving from medicine to measure the effectiveness or the outcome of practical interventions. This concept has been transferred to social work at a time when the profession is under pressure from «managerialism». Evidence-based social work therefore is suspect, even though there is no doubt that knowledge should be the base of professional social work action. «What works» and other narrow concepts of evidence-based practice seem better suited to managerial demands for «accountability» and to political decision-making in respect of financial problems of welfare states than to professional decision-making. On the other hand accountability and political/financial constraints are a reality social work has to cope with anyway. The leading question asked by this book is whether the change in the environment of social work practice can be used as a stimulus for constructive development and whether evidence-based social work can be conceived as an approach pointing to new forms of professionalism using evidence for the improvement of professional social work practice and its accountability.
Contents: Peter Sommerfeld: Introduction – Holger Ziegler: What Works in Social Work - Challenging the Political Agenda – Mark Schrödter: Will the Dodo Bird also Be Hunting Social Work? – Inge M. Bryderup: Understandings of the Concept of Effect in Research in Danish Social Educational Work – Ian Shaw: Evidencing Social Work – Stina Högnabba/Ilse Julkunen/Sakari Kainulainen/Pertti Korteniemi/Tuija Lindqvist/Petri Peitola: Steps into Realistic Evaluation in Social Work in Finland – Mike Fisher: Knowledge Production for Social Welfare: Enhancing the Evidence Base – Edward J. Mullen/Jennifer L. Bellamy/Sarah E. Bledsoe: Implementing Evidence-based Social Work Practice – Daniel Gredig: The Co-evolution of Knowledge Production and Transfer. Evidence-based Intervention Development as an Approach to Improve the Impact of Evidence on Social Work Practice – Peter Sommerfeld/Lea Hollenstein/Raphael Calzaferri/Günter Schiepek: Real-time Monitoring - New Methods for Evidence-based Social Work.