Social Work and Evidence-Based Practice

Book Review - Evidence Based Practice Social Work and Evidence-Based Practice 
 Edited by David Smith, Jessica Kingsley Publishers
 ISBN 184310156, £17.99


This is a useful and accessible text for all social work students and practitioners who appreciate that their practice should be more “evidence-based”, but are still grappling with what that means, writes Lynn Baxter.

The first two chapters by Smith and Fook are well worth reading for balanced and clear explanations of the issues and dilemmas surrounding evidence-based social work. The relevance of different “types” of evidence is discussed and it’s good to read that critical reflexivity, transferability of past experience and the use of self remain compatible with an evidence-based approach.

The other writers present examples of evidence-led practice, policy and decision-making. My favourite was Claire Taylor’s chapter, which summarises the implications for practice drawn from her personal research with looked-after children. She emphasises the relevance of learning gained from users’ views and experiences of services; a form of “evidence” that social work should continue to value.

Lynn Baxter is senior lecturer in social work, Greenwich University

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