Evidence, training and trees

Anna Bacchoo
Director of Practice

27 April 2021

For practice to be truly evidence-based, social workers need to be confident in their understanding of different research methods: the answers they can give us and their limitations. 

Some methods of research help us better understand the nature and scale of problems, others are best for understanding people’s experiences, trends over time or how interventions compare to one another. At What Works for Children’s Social Care we are most interested in understanding the impact of interventions on outcomes for children, therefore we must use methodologies that tell us something about impact.  But crucially, every type of research is important and much needed.

If our profession is to become more evidence based, in our view it is imperative that we discuss the findings of research in the context of the methodology used. If you don’t consider yourself a researcher or an academic, this may sound daunting. Therefore we have created a training programme to support practitioners at different stages in their career called Evidence, Learning and Methods (ELM)

The course has been through a number of iterations, and we’re grateful to our Pioneer Partners and our Practice in Need of Evidence partners (PINE – you may have noticed we love a tree acronym!) who participated in versions of this training over the last few years. They helped us shape the programme into its current form. We offered the new training for the first time in autumn 2020 and were overwhelmed by the response, so we’re delighted to announce even more dates. 

The three-part course must be completed sequentially. The first and second parts are for everybody from newly-qualified social workers to service leads. The third and final part will be most relevant for senior leaders and commissioners. Here is what you can expect from the training:

Introduction to the Evidence Journey: (one day) explores practical ways research can be immediately incorporated into social work practice.

Critiquing Evidence: (one day) focuses on developing your ability to critique evidence and understand the impact this awareness has upon practice.

Evaluating Evidence: (two days) aims to increase knowledge and confidence in applying and evaluating research in practice across all levels.

We are delighted that the training programme is fully accredited and that we will be able to offer a number of dates over the next 12 months. All our training courses are free and will be run both online and in person (when government guidelines allow). 

If you would like to register your interest for the Evidence, Learning and Methods course, please go to the training page on our website. If you have any questions about the course we’d love to hear from you at training@whatworks-csc.org.uk.