What impacts on social employees attitudes in direction of evidence-based observe?



A lot of research, in numerous areas of each social work and different associated disciplines, have checked out how completely different professionals view and apply the evidence-base that underpins their observe.

In some ways social work was very late to the get together, however from the 1970’s onwards it has labored laborious to be seen as a occupation (Hanley, 2020).  An growing vary of analysis and overview now sits inside social work qualifying programmes and tutorial establishments. With this being the case why does there appear to be a disconnect between social employees on the entrance line, working with individuals on a day-to-day foundation, and the analysis and proof that signifies the interventional approaches which can be most probably to be efficient is supporting optimistic change?

This paper units out the very causes the Nationwide Elf Service exists, and so it appeared like a superb paper to relaunch social care elf and re-start the dialog across the woodland. What’s it about analysis and evidence-based observe that’s seen as one way or the other threatening or an extra strain quite than a software by which we improve our understanding and convey depth to our interventions.

Magnifying Glass With Question Mark In Focus On Wooden Cube.

Why is EBP seen as an extra strain quite than to boost and add depth to our interventions?

Different Social Care Elf blogs on the topic embrace:


Kagan’s paper begins by offering a story literature overview setting out the assorted elements which have been discovered to impression on social employee attitudes in direction of EBP. On the outset she gives a useful abstract of labor over the past twenty years of assorted research and gives discussions on a number of key themes which have repeatedly been recognized in related research. These usually are not unique and are chosen to help the angle and path of the examine being reported, however there are a selection, and mixed they’re compelling.

On this examine there’s a give attention to problems with workload, burnout, size of observe expertise, together with whether or not EBP was a part of the social employees preliminary coaching, and the extent of help offered to them and EBP extra typically of their using organisations, nonetheless Kagan does acknowledge the restrictions of the overview and the areas which can be lacking which is at all times a superb factor to see in a examine.

The analysis itself is a self-selected pattern of 560 social employees in Israel, recruited by way of skilled networks, workplaces, and social media, who accomplished a spread of scales and self-assessments in relation to their views and attitudes to EBP and completely different points of their private traits and organisational environments. It makes use of a spread of various scales, topic to statistical evaluation and the writer studies that every one knowledge was anonymously collected, with the intention being to determine what drives social employees attitudes in direction of, and use of, EBP of their work with individuals.

The study aims to identify what drives social workers’ attitudes towards evidence-based practice.

The examine goals to determine what drives social employees’ attitudes in direction of evidence-based observe.


As with different research earlier than it (e.g. Mathiesen, S.G., 2016; Grady, M.D. et al, 2018; Finne, 2020 ) Kagan’s examine identifies that social employees are much less prone to undertake evidence-based approaches when they’re underneath strain or not correctly supported. Organisational help is recognized as a key issue, with social employees extra prone to embrace EBP if their friends and colleagues are receptive, and their organisation helps it.

Good psychological well being is among the different key elements that’s highlighted, which traces up with what we find out about resilience and wellbeing in different areas, with Kagan making specific hyperlinks made that recommend that when a social employee’s wellbeing, each personally and professionally is optimistic and supported, they’re extra receptive to EBP as each an idea and a observe; Whereas when they’re feeling burnt-out, overloaded and unsupervised, they’re extra resistant and prone to see EBP as a bureaucratic or controlling course of that interferes with the connection and their potential to work flexibility with the person and their particular wants.


The paper concludes by contemplating each different issues that may impression on how social employees reply to and use proof in observe and the way enhancing the organisational help, tradition and ability improvement might all considerably enhance social employees attitudes to implementing evidence-based observe.

As Kagan says in her conclusions:

“Practitioners’ attitudes in direction of EBP might need basic penalties for the implementation of EBP course of and its outcomes.” (p.4512)

What’s fascinating in Kagan’s conclusions, and one thing which chimes with what we find out about skilled resilience and wellbeing of social employees and its impression on observe is that non-public elements, similar to demographic and variety elements, in addition to psychological well being and general wellbeing at work, all have an effect and should be thought of. It might be that overwhelm and workload pressures act as a barrier to evidence-based observe and that practitioners want the help of their employers to make EBP a actuality.


Mental health and wellbeing at work of practitioners is important in making EBP a reality in social work practice.

Psychological well being and wellbeing at work of practitioners is necessary in making EBP a actuality in social work observe.

Strengths & Limitations

The examine was carried out in Israel with a pattern of 560 professionals. Amongst this group gender profiles are broadly much like the UK, with a better variety of ladies represented within the occupation, nonetheless age profiles present a youthful common age throughout the cohort than can be anticipated right here at residence (36 quite than the UK imply of 46). This is among the elements that the authors determine as a key variable, and one which is equally prone to impression on attitudes of UK social employees given the growing give attention to evidence-based observe in social work training and past that has developed in more moderen years.

This can be a small-scale examine of self-selected contributors however makes an attempt to be sturdy by utilizing validated structured questionnaires. A few of these are actually fairly outdated, and whereas nonetheless relevant and related in isolation, usually are not meant to be utilized to the myriad of social work observe settings that are actually established each within the UK and internationally. Kagan identifies self-selection bias and the slim scope of the examine by way of choosing the variables to check and acknowledges that there are a selection of different potential areas of examine recognized that present path for increasing on the restrictions of those findings.

Implications for Follow

Social work has a wierd love/hate relationship with proof and analysis typically and this paper reveals us that present observe and practitioners are perpetuating these attitudes quite than discovering a solution to simply hyperlink analysis findings into their day-to-day observe toolkit.

Social work is outlined as a occupation, with registration and regulation, however one of many key defining elements of a occupation is mostly recognised to be its information and evidence-base (Saks, M., 2012; Williams, J.H., 2015)  and it appears that evidently throughout the worldwide stage social work and social employees nonetheless have an extended solution to go on this space of their skilled tradition and id. Kagan cites ambiguity and speedy social care and unclear roles as all key elements in selling social employee well-being and therefore supporting EBP. This aligns with different work carried out nearer to residence and the commonalities within the occupation in several jurisdictions seem like based mostly on very related challenges the world over, regardless of big variations in day-to-day observe environments.

In a interval the place position ambiguity, top-down authorities management and blame cultures, are all elements current in UK social work (Garratt, P.M, 2021; Rogowski, S, 2020), it’s seemingly {that a} related examine right here at residence would yield related outcomes and Kagan identifies a spread of different elements that warrant additional examine, together with any variations in observe context or space of specialism. This made this elf take into consideration the completely different areas within the woodland and the way way more standard analysis and EBP discussions are in multi-disciplinary companies (for instance Psychological Well being companies) the place there’s the affect of different disciplines, quite than extra conventional social work or companies staff, perhaps that’s a chat we’ll have with psychological elf and are available again to it later 😊

Whereas this examine occurred in Israel, which could appear one million miles away from the city demographics of an area authority in England or Wales, the problem is widespread throughout social work internationally, and the research Kagan attracts on to contextualize her personal examine consists of small scale analysis within the UK, America, and Norway amongst others.

For Social Staff in England, the transfer to a level degree qualification and post-graduate degree put up qualification framework from 2010 onwards has meant {that a} separation has been taking place between people who see the evidence-base and the hyperlink to academia and analysis findings as core to and informing their observe, and people who understand it as one thing summary or for college kids quite than these in day by day (notably) statutory observe.

Kagan’s examine provides to what we find out about the advantages of studying cultures, it reinforces that non-public well-being is a key issue within the practitioner’s willingness to embrace an evidence-based strategy and that social employees want help, management that fashions the strategy, and a transparent understanding of the advantages, for each themselves and the individuals they’re supporting, to enhance their engagement with evidence-based observe as an expert software.

Conflicts of Curiosity



Main Paper:

Kagan, M. (2022). “Social Staff’ Attitudes in direction of Proof-based Follow: A Multidimensional Perspective.” The British Journal of Social Work 52(8): 4497-4517.

Different references

Finne, J. (2020) “Attitudes towards and utilization of evidence-based observe amongst

Norwegian social employees”, Journal of Proof-based Social Work, 17(2), pp.149–62.

Garrett, P.M. (2020) Dissenting Social Work: Crucial Idea, Resistance and Pandemic. London & New York: Routledge

Grady, M. D., Wike, T., Putzu, C., Discipline, S., Hill, J., Bledsoe, S. E., Bellamy, J. and Massey, M. (2018) “Current social work practitioners’ understanding and use of evidence-based observe and empirically supported therapies”, Journal of Social Work Schooling, 54 (1),163–79.

Hanley, J. (2022)” Social Work England: A regulator that has earned our collective dissent.” Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 34 (3), 48-60

Mathiesen, S. G. (2016) “Social work college students & evidence-based observe: A world comparability”, Worldwide Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 6 (4), 1–6.

Rogowski, S. (2021) Social Work: The Rise and fall of a occupation? Bristol: Coverage Press.

Saks, M. (2012). “Defining a Career: The Function of Information and Experience”. Professions and Professionalism, 2 (1), 1-10.

Williams, J.H. (2015) “Unification, Crafting Imperatives, and Defining a Career.” Social Work Analysis, 29 (2), 67 – 69.

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