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Evidensbaserat socialt arbete: Från idé till praktik
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
2011 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Evidence-based social work : From idea to practice (English)
Abstract [en]

As an innovation Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) is designed as a tool for clinical problem solving. According to its theory of use EBP will bring a difference for policy makers, for professionals, for researchers and for service users. One question to be asked is whether EBP actually leads to the radical social change it is designed to accomplish. The aim of the study is to describe and analyse the outcome of the effort to establish EBP, with a focus on the case of social work in Sweden. The research questions are: What is EBP? Why are efforts made to establish EBP? What is the outcome of the EBP project? How can the outcome of the EBP project be explained?

The case study was conducted on a critical realistic meta-theoretical ground with a focus on explanation of social change with an explicit actor-structure perspective. Methodologically, a narrative synthesis of studies was made. As a complement primary data were collected to fill empirical gaps. The state of things was described before and after the EBP-initiatives. Several helping theories – Kuhn’s theory of paradigm, program theory, neo-institutional theory and theory of diffusion – were used to analyse the empirically mapped outcome of the EBP project.

The results show that the import of the original model of Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) to social work is a part of a wider social movement in the helping and educational professions. The new model has influenced social work as a discipline, as a field of practice and as a field of policy. There are examples of full-scale implementations of EBP, although EBP has not reached a general status as daily practice. Some obstacles remain.

The gradual adaption of EBP corresponds to criteria hold by Kuhn for a paradigm shift. Acceptance of the model has contributed to change the structure and function of social systems. At an organizational level, this change means on-going institutionalization. The innovation is influencing the way institutional actors conduct their work. Although the structural conditions have been optimal, the EBP-model has been debated with heat. The EBP-debate and policy-driven infrastructural efforts have brought a more in-depth examination of the model. So-called coercive, normative, and regulative isomorphisms were used to change organizations. The degree of institutionalization depended on the individuals and the organizations willingness and preparedness to change, to understand, and to put the model into practice. When actors used a less strict version of the original EBP model, the pace of cultural and institutional change slowed down.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Institutionen för socialt arbete, Umeå universitet , 2011. , 232 p.
Studier i socialt arbete vid Umeå universitet : avhandlings- och skriftserie, ISSN 0283-300X ; 67
Keyword [en]
Evidence-based practice, social work, critical realism, narrative synthesis, actor-structure perspective, contextual model, paradigm shift, program theory, neo-institutional theory, isomorphism, diffusion, social change, social mechanisms, learning organization
Keyword [sv]
Evidensbaserad praktik, socialt arbete, kritisk realism, narrativ syntes, aktör-struktur perspektiv, kontextuell modell, paradigmskifte, programteori, nyinstitutionell teori, isomorfism, diffusion, social förändring, sociala mekanismer, lärande organisation
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-49366ISBN: 978-91-7459-319-8OAI: diva2:455430
Public defence
2011-12-09, Samhällsvetarhuset, Hörsal C, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2011-11-18 Created: 2011-11-10 Last updated: 2014-10-07Bibliographically approved

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