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Ways of understanding evidence-based practice in social work: A qualitative study
Linköpings universitet, HELIX Vinn Excellence Centre.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6784-0133
Linköpings universitet, Avdelningen för samhällsmedicin.
Linköpings universitet, Pedagogik och vuxnas lärande.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5066-8728
2014 (English)In: British Journal of Social Work, ISSN 0045-3102, E-ISSN 1468-263X, Vol. 44, no 6, 1366-1383 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

This qualitative, empirical study explores and describes the variation in how evidence-based practice (EBP) is understood in social work. A phenomenographic approach to design and analysis was applied. Fourteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with politicians, managers and executive staff in three social welfare offices in Sweden. The main findings suggest that there are qualitatively different ways in which EBP is understood, described in five categories: (i) fragmented; (ii) discursive; (iii) instrumental; (iv) multifaceted; and (v) critical. The outcome space is hierarchically structured with a logical relationship between the categories. However, the informants found it difficult to account for EBP, depending on what was expressed as deficient knowledge of EBP in the organisation, as well as ability to provide a seemly context for EBP. The results highlight the importance of acknowledging these differences in the organisation to compose a supportive atmosphere for EBP to thrive rather than merely assume the case of evidence-based social work. The categories can be utilised as stimuli for reflection in social work practice, and thereby provide the possibility to promote knowledge use and learning in the evolving evidence-based social work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford, 2014. Vol. 44, no 6, 1366-1383 p.
Keyword [en]
EBP, evidence-based social work in Sweden, knowledge, learning, phenomenography
National Category
Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-31193DOI: 10.1093/bjsw/bcs198ISI: 000342988900002OAI: diva2:951525
Available from: 2016-08-09 Created: 2016-08-09 Last updated: 2016-08-09Bibliographically approved

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Avby, GunillaAbrandt Dahlgren, Madeleine
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