Journal Article

Evidence-Based Practice in Social Work: Lessons from Judgment and Decision-Making Theory

Guido M. J. van de Luitgaarden

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 39, issue 2, pages 243-260
Published in print March 2009 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online November 2007 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcm117
Evidence-Based Practice in Social Work: Lessons from Judgment and Decision-Making Theory

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This paper introduces a critique of the experimentalist strand of the evidence-based practice movement in social work. It does so by drawing on the available body of knowledge that is found within the field of judgment and decision making. The nexus between experimentalist evidence-based practice and rational choice approaches to social work decision making is demonstrated. Subsequently, it argues that the properties of social work decision tasks are more likely to facilitate naturalistic than analytical decision making strategies. Recognition-primed decision making is introduced as a possible alternative to practice guidelines and decision aids. Finally, the consequences of embracing the principles of recognition-primed decision making are considered regarding social work practice, education and research.

Keywords: evidence-based practice; judgment and decision making; naturalistic decision making; rational choice theory; recognition-primed decision making; social work; decision tasks

Journal Article.  7048 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Work

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