Evaluation in Social Work: The Art and Science of Practice
Oxford University Press, USA, 2007 - Social Science - 468 pages
Social work practice is built upon the linkage between the objectives and goals of clients, programs, and agencies, and the evaluation process is critical for making sure those links are strong. Building on its earlier editions with seven new chapters and complete revisions of the others, as well as a strong online companion website presence, this text is more relevant and user-friendly than ever. It provides a straightforward introduction to program evaluation couched within the quantitative and qualitative traditions--the approaches most commonly used to gain social work knowledge. The result gives students a sound conceptual understanding of how evaluation can be used in the delivery of day-to-day services they will be offering your clients, as well as the knowledge and skills necessary to demonstrate accountability.The book builds upon the knowledge and skills of foundational social work research methods courses and assumes mastery of that material. However, the authors have created a uniquely accessible scheme that runs throughout the book in the form of a tree whose components--trunk, twigs, leaves--guide students through the book. They focus on a series of goals, from the basic preparedness for participation in evaluation activities and more advanced courses, to the ability to actively produce and consume evaluative literature. With its clear, direct language, focus on real-life situations, and many visual elements, this new edition is poised to be the text of choice for students and instructors looking for the best way to learn and teach evaluation skills.
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This is a thoughtfully written book. Although designed for graduate students, it is easily adaptable to the undergraduate level. It moves clearly through the stages of the design process, the theories underlying the approaches and the challenges that will be encountered, recognising that many social workers have not had positive work experiences in this time of social service cut-backs. The inclusion of diagrams, charts and numerous learning aids, both in text and online, helps both instructors and students. Social work evaluation skills are more than needed. A text such as this helps practitioners / students to grow in the knowledge of how to include valid and reliable monitoring techniques, a feature which will impact positively on accountable service delivery.