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When research moves in: the diffusion of evidence-based practice in Swedish social work
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
2016 (English)In: 6th European Conference for Social Work Research: Reflective social work practices in contemporary societies : dialogues and new pathways between praxis and research : Book of Abstracts & Prgoramme Book / [ed] Francisco Branco, Inês Amaro, Cristina Albuquerque, Maria Isabel Santos, Ana Oliveira, Inês Guerra, 2016, 242-243 p.Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

BackgroundIn Sweden, as elsewhere, the development of evidence-based practice (EBP) in social work has been debated for over a decade now. One of the issues concerns the top-down strategy used by the Swedish government to enhance the knowledge about interventions in social work practice. Critiques argue that this is not a feasible way forward; instead the social work profession needs to take over the leader pin. This of course calls for structures that enable social work practitioners and researchers to engage in practice-based research in order to solve current and urgent issues. Academic primary- -care centers have been established as a possible way forward in implementing an evidence-based medicine in Swedish healthcare. Clinical research is one of the basic tasks in those centers, involving much of the personal. Here, we will reflect upon the possibilities for a similar approach within the social services. This presentation aims to present research about the conditions for new pathways between Swedish social work practice and research and to critically review the idea of academic social services offices. The following questions will be addressed:(i) What characterizes an academic social services office?(ii) What are the opinions of management in charge?(iii) What are the recommendations from research?

MethodsA survey was launched twice (2005 and 2015) to the leading association of administrative leaders in the social services in Sweden. Among other things they were asked about their opinions of EBP and of clinical research in social work, also if they were in the need of staff with a PhD-education. Furthermore, a review of relevant literature and expert consultations is being undertaken focusing on significant mechanisms when it comes to establishing structures in order to support the development of academic social services offices and practice-based research.

ResultsResults from the survey show that leaders are more positive towards EBP today than ten years ago. However they are not keen on hiring staff educated in research and especially management in smaller organizations express severe difficulties to hire staff with appropriate skills and to further develop the competence to do research within their workplace. This calls for collaborations with other organizations as well as with researchers from universities and R & D-units. Results from reviews and expert-interviews will be added.

ConclusionsAdministrative leaders support the idea of a knowledge-based social work and to use interventions whose effects are demonstrated by evaluations. However they lack strategies, competence and role-models to create a research-based organization. This paper-presentation contributes to the building of bridges between practice and research through presenting analysis of the views of management as well as innovative ways of research-production within the social services.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. 242-243 p.
Keyword [en]
evidence-based social work practice, collaboration, academic social services offices, practice-based research
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Sciences, Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-51925ISBN: 978-989-99486-2-4OAI: diva2:916689
6th European Conference for Social Work Research (ECSWR) Lisbon, Portugal, Thursday 31 March 2016, Catholic University of Portugal
Available from: 2016-04-04 Created: 2016-04-04 Last updated: 2016-09-22Bibliographically approved

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