What is the role of science in social work? Ian Shaw considers social work inventions, evidence-based practice, the history of scientific claims in social work practice, technology, and social work research methodology to demonstrate the significant role that scientific language and practice play in the complex world of social work. By treating science as a social action marked by the interplay of choice, activity, and constraints, Shaw links scientific and social work knowledge through the core themes of the nature of evidence, critical learning and understanding, justice, and the skilled evaluation of the subject. He shows specifically how to connect science, research, and the practical and speaks to the novel topics this integration introduces into the discipline, including experience, expertise, faith, tacit knowledge, judgment, interests, scientific controversies, and understanding.
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Number of pages: 344
Weight: 595 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 23 mm
This thoughtful book succinctly analyzes the longstanding tensions between science and art, science and action, and science and values that have influenced social work scholarship, practice, and education for over a century. Shaw illuminates contemporary debates over the nature and purpose of social work research by placing them in their historical, ideological, and political contexts. -- Michael Reisch, University of Maryland Social Work Science is a remarkable attempt to bring together the diverse threads of scientific production in social work and locate them within the broader context of Western scientific thinking. In doing so, Shaw convincingly exposes the problematic foundations of traditional dichotomies and supposedly conflicting views such as that between art and science. This book will become a milestone in social work literature and a major source of inspiration for academics and practitioners alike. -- Silvia Fargion, chair, European Social Work Research Association Ian Shaw's coverage in Social Work Science includes just about every philosophical basis ever proposed for science, and he also ventures into the relationship with 'personal knowledge, common sense, power, action, politics, and faith.' His book makes an erudite, scholarly contribution to all of the above. -- Ray Pawson, author of The Science of Evaluation: A Realist Manifesto This book offers a wide-ranging and historically informed discussion of the connections between social work and science. It raises important questions about the role of evidence in professional work while underlining the essential part it plays. This sophisticated and balanced approach is greatly to be welcomed. -- Martyn Hammersley, The Open University