Journal Article

‘Reading’ in Professional Practice: How Social Work Practice Assessors Access Knowledge and Information

William Horder

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 37, issue 6, pages 1079-1094
Published in print September 2007 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online July 2006 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
‘Reading’ in Professional Practice: How Social Work Practice Assessors Access Knowledge and Information

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This paper presents the results of a survey of the reading habits of 184 social work practice teachers/assessors in 2005. New technology has transformed the availability of information, but in the UK, social workers, from whom Practice Assessors are drawn, have been found to have relatively poor access to electronic resources. The literature also highlights deficits in social workers’ reading, but suggests that there is a strong oral tradition which may compensate for this. The survey aimed to show the choices this group of staff makes between different media and different types of knowledge. It was found that oral sources were the most used resource, but that habits of internet use were also very well developed. Respondents’ reading, and particularly their use of the internet, appeared to be strongly influenced by organizational priorities and statutory roles. Clinical and therapeutic texts and specialist knowledge were also important to respondents. Books and journals were highly valued but cost was in many cases a barrier to access. Findings from this survey suggest that Practice Assessors are a relatively well resourced group and that the internet is of great importance as a source of information for them.

Keywords: professional reading; internet; practice learning; evidence-based practice; continuing professional development

Journal Article.  6127 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Work

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