Journal Article

Assessing the Quality of Knowledge in Social Care: Exploring the Potential of a Set of Generic Standards

Andrew F. Long, Lesley Grayson and Annette Boaz

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 36, issue 2, pages 207-226
Published in print February 2006 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online October 2005 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Assessing the Quality of Knowledge in Social Care: Exploring the Potential of a Set of Generic Standards

Show Summary Details


Social care policy and practice draw on multiple sources of knowledge. In order to help practitioners and policymakers identify and act on the basis of high quality evidence, ways of assessing the quality of this knowledge are needed. Part of the answer may lie in the use of a set of generic standards. To test the potentiality of this approach, one document from each of five core domains of social care knowledge was selected and assessed independently by three researchers using a set of generic standards developed within a study commissioned by the Social Care Institute for Excellence. Critical reflections on feasibility and added value were recorded. Each reviewer successfully applied the set of standards to each document, but faced problems with interpretation and the identification of source-specific standards. Use of the TAPUPAS schema forced consideration of the strengths and weaknesses of each document and broadened the common notion of quality and quality assessment to sources beyond the traditional research domain. This small-scale testing suggests the potential of the schema to enable assessments of quality to be applied across knowledge sources within both social care and other applied discipline areas such as health and education. As with any quality assessment tool, training in its use is required.

Keywords: Standards; knowledge; quality assessment; social care

Journal Article.  7893 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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