Social Work Practice and Its Historical Traditions 29 the challenges that it poses for social workers in the twenty-first century. We briefly discuss online counseling, clients’ access to and use of online resources, and social workers’ presence online. In subsequent chapters, we return to these issues and discuss them in greater depth. 6. Using Research to Guide Practice Throughout the text, we cite relevant research to inform our discussion of concepts and enhance students’ comfort with and appreciation for the value of the research literature. We prefer the term evidence-guided practice to the more commonly used term, evidence-based practice. We explain that our approach is more reflective of the realities of social work practice and the uniqueness of every worker-client interaction. We assert that research must be used as a guide rather than to prescribe and dictate workers’ actions. To assist students in understanding our approach, we provide a hypothetical case example in which a worker, Ricardo, uses research to inform his practice with two very different clients. The example illustrates both the benefits and limitations associated with relying upon evidence. Competency 4: Engage in Practice-Informed Research and Research-Informed Practice • Use practice experience and theory to inform scientific inquiry and research. • Apply critical thinking to engage in analysis of qualitative and quantitative research methods and research findings. • Use and translate research evidence to inform and improve practice, policy, and service delivery. 7. Licensing, Agency-Based Practice, and Third-Party Payment We want students to understand early on that in addition to the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), which is discussed in chapter 3, they must respond to other sources of accountability that will inform, and in many instances constrain, their efforts with and on behalf of their clients. These include, among others, licensing requirements and regula- tions and the demands of the employing organization and third party payors.
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