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What sense does the continuous outcome of the great EBP-project make?
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
2011 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

As an innovation imported from the field of epidemiology to social work the idea of Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) is designed as a tool for problem solving. According to its theory of use EBP, as a motor of change, will bring a difference for policy, for practice and for service users. As a travelling idea EBP is though both complex and dynamic. It has not been adopted or implemented with simplicity anywhere spread. The idea has over time been formulated and reformulated. One question to be asked is whether the idea of EBP is actually leading to the radical change it is designed to accomplish. The aim of my study is to describe and analyse results of the ongoing effort to establish EBP in social work. This brings a methodological need to map and analytically make sense of the outcome of the EBP-project, as a planned paradigm shift, at given moments of time and at defined levels of analysis (contexts). The paper addresses how I have outlined a meta-theoretical ground with methodological implications to do this exercise, and how this has brought my study a research map. The meta-theoretical ground of the study is critical realistic which has two significant methodological consequences. First it brings a strong focus on the actor-structure-relationship in my understanding of the object to be studied, and in the empirical mapping of this object on different levels of analysis. Empirical manifestations of relevance to map are related to ideas of use of knowledge and of production of knowledge (i.e. the core elements of the concept of EBP). Actors on different analytical levels are seen to spread and translate these ideas (as an effective cause to the overall effect of the EBP-project). I though regard the overall result of the EBP-project as transformation or reproduction of cultural structures. Methodologically I am making a narrative synthesis of studies of the emergence of EBP, of expressed understandings of the concept of EBP, of studies of EBP-oriented organisations, of the EBP-debates, and of implementation efforts on both policy and practice levels  – with an analytical focus on the relation between context-mechanism-outcome. Databases used for systematic search for empirical material in 2003, 2006 and 2009 are Academic Search Full TEXT Elite and Social Sciences Citation Index. I have also made search manually by references. Both secondary data (such as results of analyses of different aspects of the EBP-movement, as well as results from evaluations of EBP-implementation efforts) and primary data (such as debate articles, websites, reports) have been collected in order to continually ‘fill gaps’ in the research map. Second the critical realistic ground brings the study the task of explaining the empirical findings (that is the given outcome of the EBP-establishment). Methodologically this means that I use a battery of helping theory (primary neo-institutional theories) for analytical sense making (explanation) of the results, by revealing social mechanisms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-41521OAI: diva2:406688
The first European Conference For Social Work Research, Oxford 23-25/3.
Available from: 2011-03-28 Created: 2011-03-28 Last updated: 2012-03-23Bibliographically approved

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Svanevie, Kajsa
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