Episode 198 - Dr. Jeane Anastas and Dr. Cynthia Franklin: The Science of Social Work

Monday, August 29, 2016, 7:28:51 AM

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In this episode, Dr. Jeane Anastas and Dr. Cynthia Franklin discuss how our profession attempts to integrate practice and research. Framing the profession's commitment to evidence-based practice as an ethical and accountability issue, these long-term practitioners and academics look back and then forward at Social Work's response to the science of social work practice. Our guests comment on the factors that complicate practitioners' adoption of evidence-based practices, discuss the struggle for those in the trenches of practice, and acknowledge the professional dynamics that limit social work research and who gets to initiate the questions.

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Average Rating: 4.2 stars (6 listener reviews )

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Average Rating: 4stars  podcast review for research i, Monday, October 24, 2016

By Joleen George :

This science of social work is important not just for those in the academic world but also for practicing social workers. As practitioners we have an ethical responsibility to provide the best possible treatment to our clients. The guest speakers identified several reasons for the conducting research in the field as well as, allowing for the consideration of multiple data collection methods. Qualitative research and quantitative research is equally valuable in the world of social work and allows for understanding regarding the impact of interventions on multiple populations. Prior to becoming a social work student, I study psychology. For me reasearch as always been a huge part of the field. Learning that up until recently, research in the social work field was limited in news to be me. But I can see where the evidence based practice has become more widespread with the last few years and my own agency is pushing for use to collect data to support the use of our treatment modality in the field. My only criticism of this podcast is that it is not more wide spread. The message contained within this podcast should be more widespread. A wide scale call to action needs to be issued encouraging communication and collaboration between researchers and practitioners to increase the understanding of the research finding to practitioners so they can put into practice the best treatment modalities for a population. I also found the part about practitioners and researcher limited communication to be disturbing as I thought about the possible implications of research finding not getting to the practitioners who use specific interventions in treatment.

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Average Rating: 4stars  the multifaceted science of social work, Tuesday, October 18, 2016

By K Spaulding :

Social work has dramatically expanded over the years to include more research. There are two reasons this: 1) as Dr. Anastas puts it, to "enhance the prestige of the profession,” and 2) the field of social work is not simply a matter of acquiring scientific knowledge; social workers have an ethical obligation to provide the best possible interventions for clients.

The profession has recently turned toward the use of EBP, particularly using mixed methodology. Literature pertaining to the synthesis of quantitative and qualitative research has gained popularity. Dr. Franklin asserts that mixed methodology is essential to social work, as it is a “multifaceted science.”

Social work requires a diverse wealth of knowledge. One of the concerns mentioned is that agencies rather than practitioners choose interventions they feel are appropriate for clients when, in reality, the practitioner’s experience is a valuable component in the implementation of EBP. While I feel that empirical research is necessary for progressive social work, I agree that informal knowledge and experiential knowledge also plays a key role in effective practice.

Dr. Franklin argues that social workers must understand what knowledge is and where it comes from. In other words, it’s just as important to consider the context of the research as it is the results. It seems so simple, yet I’ve never before considered how context might impact research and how flawed research might negatively affect clients.

Anastas and Franklin voice some valid concerns regarding the use of EBP models in social work, particularly the fact that social work students aren’t familiar enough with EBP when they enter the field and can’t effectively integrate it into their work with clients. Having said that, the podcast fails to offer potential solutions to address this disconnect. It’s easy to talk about why EBP is important to social work, but how are we going to apply it? That’s the real question.

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Average Rating: 4stars  informative and educational, Sunday, October 16, 2016

By vdenha :

The interview raised a variety of interesting points, especially for MSW students like myself. I have questioned the use of various theories based on research and was relieved to hear that some students felt that they are not often flexible enough, as EBP. Some models are not necessarily appropriate for all demographics and adjustments should be considered with specific populations in mind. But what really stuck with me and was so simply stated yet so profound was the fact that no findings of any research or theory can be applied as a whole. As with most sciences, this is not paint by number. We are dealing with Individuals who like a fingerprint are unique. And because social work is not a one size fits all, we must educate ourselves on a continual basis to find the best solution for each client. It is our ethical obligation to do so and as was stated in the podcast, research is a promising tool we can continue to use to explore the most effective ways in finding solutions that can be applied to various people and situations. Both Dr. Anastas and Dr. Franklin provide Insight into not only integrating practice and research, but on a deeper level, going back to the core of social work which is finding new and innovative ways to meet the needs of our clients.

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Average Rating: 5stars  msw students feedback, Tuesday, October 11, 2016

By Michael Perez :

I found the podcast very informative on how it discusses the value of EBP and its application in research and the future of the field. I feel that it is important to keep in mind our impact on our clients when moving ahead to be the most important aspect. We are a practice based profession and being able to improve our research is crucial as long as it stays in the realm of being client centered. The idea of social work becoming a science to improve our prestige is really working from a top down approach rather then a bottom up approach which I believe Social Work essentially is based in. The audio clip taught me the importance to stay engaged in discussion and the academic aspect when applying the practice side. both the social justice side as well as the academic research side go hand in hand also. One question I have is what are some further ideas on harmonizing these two approaches in the future?

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Average Rating: 4stars  learned a great deal, Sunday, October 09, 2016

By Adam G. - Edinboro University MSW student :

As an MSW student this podcast illuminates my understanding of the ethical importance of integrating EBP into direct practice. In consideration of the topics addressed I think it was said best that social science identity and the best practices for direct practitioners “needs help from the researchers.” Additionally as both presenters stated at the end that there needs to be open reciprocal conversation from both levels to help best guide the research that can best serve our clients. Essentially what I am taking from these interviews is that we truly are all in this together and we should not fear the methodology in which we travel to find the best interventions for change.

Mostly, I agree with the multi-method modality approach to research. Being new to research and MSW myself, it seems like common sense that quantitative and qualitative research can inform each other. Creating a snowball effect in research that seems to always be leading (hopefully) to the best evidence supported therapies that can be person-centered.

I did learn a great deal from these interviews. I did not really think about the question, “Who’s Science, Who’s Knowledge?” before. I appreciate what they shared about “what knowledge is and how it is constructed.” This convicted me in a good way.

It is hard to find much to be critical about these interviews. Bridging this gap seems daunting when considering client case load and the multitude of other tasks. I find that if research should be guiding more by practitioner input (less from Funders) how do those at the academic/research level reach out to the practitioner to help bridge this gap? And if we are honest money from the funders pays for the research to occur and I just don’t see local, county, state agencies paying for this bottom up research. Any thoughts on that would be great.

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Average Rating: 4stars  evaluating program outcomes can further the science of social work, Monday, September 05, 2016

By David G. Markham, L.C.S.W. - R :

As a practitioner and manager outcome based practice is concerned about results for particular clients with particular problems at particular times in particular places.

As a manager, continuous quality improvement requires ongoing measurement of outcomes (results) from program activities delivered by staff. These activities can be prescribed somewhat, but the art of implementation of those activities will always be client centered if they are to be delivered in an ethical manner.

The collaboration of practitioners who design program activities for specified populations with particular problems and researches is an exciting prospect for future knowledge production. Unfortunately, funding and the structural gap between academia and agencies prevent this kind of collaboration. If agencies were funded to hire their own research staff to evaluate program outcomes, progress could be made more quickly in creating the science of social work as the professionals in this podcast discuss.

Social agencies structured as "learning organizations" interested in continuous quality improvement with a focus on measurable outcomes could greatly enhance the science of social work from the bottom up instead of the top down.

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DISCLAIMER: The content shared by the presenter(s) and/or interviewer(s) of each podcast is their own and not necessarily representative of any views, research, or practice from the UB School of Social Work or the inSocialWork® podcast series.