Journal Article

An Inclusive Approach to Knowledge for Mental Health Social Work Practice and Policy

Nick Gould

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 36, issue 1, pages 109-125
Published in print January 2006 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online October 2005 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
An Inclusive Approach to Knowledge for Mental Health Social Work Practice and Policy

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As the integration of health and social care services progresses in the mental health sector, there is concern that mental health social workers are disadvantaged, relative to health professionals, because they cannot identify the knowledge base for their practice. This paper argues that this concern is partly the product of assuming that the knowledge base has to be premised upon randomized controlled trials. Instead, it proposes a non-hierarchical framework based on that developed in health research in Canada by Upshur and colleagues that generates a typology of knowledge which is congruent with the main forms of inquiry that are relevant to mental health social work practice. The framework recognizes the contribution of randomized controlled trials to the knowledge base but also validates knowledge drawn from qualitative, epidemiological, practitioner and user knowledge. It is argued that the framework profiles a wider knowledge base than that promoted by conventional evidence-based practice, and also could be a basis for future development of the research agenda in mental health social work.

Keywords: mental health; knowledge; evidence-based practice

Journal Article.  6795 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Work

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