Evaluating in practice

Front Cover
Arena, 1996 - Medical - 215 pages
This original and ground-breaking text develops a qualitative strategy and methods by which social workers can evaluate their own practice. Placing the relationship between understanding and action at the heart of social work practice, this is the first time that qualitative methods have been reworked and translated for social workers. Drawing extensively but critically on participatory and feminist methodologies, the author develops a reflexive evaluating in practice, for and with the service user, which is both empowering and rigorous.The first part of the book sets the agenda. Existing evaluating practices by practitioners and service users are reviewed, and are set in context of increasing demands for performance evaluation in social work. Evaluation stories and accounts of recently qualified social work students, practitioners and practice teachers were gathered for this text and they provide an empirical spine for the early chapters of the book. This enabled the author to anchor the model of evaluating in practice to the existing realities of how practitioners and service users do evaluating.The second part of the book builds on this agenda for evaluating with a wide range of examples of how qualitative methods can be reworked for practice. The specific requirements of practitioners in assessing, planning, intervention and understanding service outcomes are addressed chapter by chapter. The practice potential of innovations such as life stories, personal documents, focus groups and simulated clients is illustrated, along with participant observation, interviewing and written practice texts. Good practice is identified for discovering whether service users are genuinely satisfied.The author is strongly critical of the developing movement for empirical practice in Britain and America, but is equally dissatisfied with what he views as the simplistic and inadequate response of social workers to the challenges posed by positivist versions of practice evaluating.This book provides the first text to answer the frequent calls for social workers to be able to critically evaluate their own practice. It also provides for social science students a contextualised application of recent developments in qualitative methodologies for doing and learning research.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


List of figures
The scene of the action
Practitioners talk

8 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases