Journal Article

Outline of a Critical Best Practice Perspective on Social Work and Social Care

Harry Ferguson

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 33, issue 8, pages 1005-1024
Published in print December 2003 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online December 2003 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Outline of a Critical Best Practice Perspective on Social Work and Social Care

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This article seeks to lay the foundations for a new, more positive perspective on critical practice, research and learning in social work and social care. A ‘critical best practice perspective’ seeks to move the literature beyond a ‘deficit approach’ where the focus is on what does not get done (well), to create a perspective where learning occurs in terms of best practice which is set out as a model for developing systems and practice competencies. This requires a focus on the actual critical practices that are ‘best’ demonstrating the very practice through which positive outcomes were achieved. A detailed case-study is offered drawn from a large scale research study which typifies how a critical best practice perspective can provide for learning in key areas such as how to engage service users, advocate on their behalf, promote protection, establish empowering relationships and conduct longer-term therapeutic work in an antioppressive manner. The research method uses critical theory as an interpretative framework for reaching an operational definition of 'excellence’ and what is ‘best’, which is drawn from the perspectives of the range of stakeholders who construct practice. This requires a broadening of the concept of evidence-based practice to include qualitative research methods and the experience of professionals, service users and the production of ‘practice-based evidence’.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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