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Using Evidence in Social Work Practice

Behavioral Perspectives

Edited by Harold Briggs and Tina Rzepnicki

Publication Date - April 2004

ISBN: 9780190615727

376 pages
6 x 8.8 inches

Retail Price to Students: $85.00


This important anthology reinforces the value of evidence-based practice. While the term evidence-based practice has only recently gained currency, it continues the social work tradition of applying scientific methods to practice.

In their introductory chapter, the editors stress the vital need for practitioners to share their research and experience with colleagues. There is an overwhelming body of literature in the field and to use it to the best advantage it is essential to learn the skills of critical thinking. The authors help the reader to evaluate the many sources of information, realize that even empirical knowledge is subject to revision, and balance conflicting views in order to make reasonable choices appropriate for one's own practice.

The scholars contributing to this work have helped shape the definition of contemporary social work practice. Their clear, concise chapters range from discussions about ethics, the nature of evidence, and the role of theory, through the addressing of widely varying, specific client problems, to selected issues that must be dealt with inside the social work system itself. Suitable for use in a variety of practice courses, this book will retain its value long after graduation as a source of helpful guidance and of lively discussion.


  • Perspectives by leading scholars and practitioners teach ethics and the importance of using critical thinking to guide practice decisions
  • The book demonstrates the role of theory in guiding accountable social work practice
  • The text highlights the essential interrelationships of research, practice, and evaluation and describes the advantages and challenges to practitioners
  • By emphasizing the importance of applying evidence, the authors show practitioners how to use behavioral methods to achieve practice effectiveness across a number of client issues

About the Author(s)

Harold Briggs (University of Chicago, AM, University of Chicago, PhD) is professor in the school of social work at Portland State University.

Tina Rzepnicki (University of Chicago, AM, University of Chicago, PhD) is professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.

Table of Contents

    Introduction Using Evidence in Your Practice

    Part I Perspectives
    1. Contributions of Critical Thinking and Evidence-Based Practice to the Fulfillment of the Ethical Obligations of Professionals,
    2. Theory-Driven versus Theory-Free Research in Empirical Social Work Practice
    3. The Contribution of Operant Theory to Social Work Practice and Research
    4. Ecobehavioral Social Work
    5. Science in Evidence-Based Social Work Practice

    Part II Applications
    6. Some Guidelines for Selecting Behavioral Intervention Programs for Children with Autism
    7. Evidence-Based Practice with Antisocial and Delinquent Youth: The Key Role of Family and Multisystemic Intervention
    8. Patterns of Juvenile Male Sexual Aggression: An Operant Approach (to Understanding and Intervening Effectively
    9. Behavioral Family Treatment in Japan: Design and Development of a Parent Training Program
    10. Adherence to HIV Therapies: Can Applied Behavior Analysis Help?
    11. Behavioral Programming and Staff Development in Adult Day Care
    12. Providing Appropriate Care in Advanced Dementia
    13. Behavior Interventions for Severe and Persistent Mental Disorders,

    Part III Selected Issues
    14. Staff Development and Mental Health,
    15. The Evidence-Based Practitioner: Assessing the Cultural Responsiveness of Research,
    16. Informed Consent and Practice Evaluation: Making the Decision to Participate Meaningful
    17. Psychosocial Assessment of Teenage Parents: Lessons Learned in Its Application to Child Welfare
    18. Program Evaluation: Arduous, Impossible, and Political,
    19. Evaluating Science-Based Practice with Single Systems