Evaluation is not a self-contained phase of social work practice - one more dimension of the process - but a dimension of every phase. In this fully rewritten and updated second edition of his groundbreaking text Evaluating in Practice, Ian Shaw demonstrates how evaluation and inquiry are just as much practice tasks as planning, intervention and review. By demonstrating that good evaluating in practice helps sustain a commitment to evidence, understanding and justice, Shaw shows that for this to be achieved, evaluating in practice must permeate every aspect of social work. He: 1. Develops a framework for embedding evaluation and inquiry as a dimension of good practice in social work. 2. Demonstrates the central significance of a 'methodological practice' in social work that adapts, infuses, and translates social research methods as a dimension of the different aspects of social work, viz. assessment, planning, intervention, review and outcomes. 3. Facilitates good practice by exemplifying the argument through extensive worked examples and exercises. This book has much to say about the demanding skills that are necessary to achieve this shaping of practice and is a must-read for any social work student or practitioner.
'Shaw brings a rare depth of scholarship to examining evaluating in practice. He effectively combines ideas of forgotten scholars with the latest innovations in qualitative research. The result is a powerful reminder of the importance of reflective-mindedness in social work and related disciplines.' Mirja Satka, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland 'Evaluating in Practice is a very important book that should be required reading for social work students and established professionals alike. The integration of social science knowledge illuminates aspects of social work practice that typically go unnoticed.' Catherine Kohler Riessman, Professor Emerita, Boston College, USA 'Fundamentally challenging conventional notions of practice and evaluation and utilizing thoughtful and carefully supported arguments, Shaw develops the notion that evaluating should be an integral dimension of every aspect of social work practice. In elegant prose he skillfully paces the reading experience and offers exercises for "taking it further", mapping a path toward enacting this new vision of methodological practice.' Karen M. Staller, University of Michigan, USA 'By deploying qualitative methods in practice, Evaluating in Practice moves fact/value discussions forward. Shaw's argument preserves values while maintaining critical inquiry; in short, he offers a "model" for practice not a "source."... Evaluating in Practice is a cogent argument for addressing the "conflict between instinctive judgement and theoretical conviction." Shaw has moved us beyond the usual either/or pitfalls and broken new ground for imagining how qualitative methods, evaluation, and practice are interdependent.' Qualitative Social Work 'This is an excellent book for all involved in social work practice for three reasons. Firstly, it clearly demonstrates how the use of qualitative evaluation and inquiry can enhance practice. Second, it emphasises the importance of methodologically-based practice, and, thirdly, it promotes evaluation as a dimension that occurs throughout social work practice... Overall, this is a book for the 21st century practice. It is well written, logical and passionate. Shaw's agenda to improve social work practice through continuous evaluation of practice clearly aligns with that of the social work community of practice. I recommend this book to you and urge you to read and discuss it with your colleagues, as well as include it as part of your continuous professional development log.' Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work 'This is an absorbing and fascinating book... The text, which flows effortlessly and smoothly, is broken by headings and subheadings that direct the reader around the, at times quite challenging, discussion and arguments put forward. The use of case studies, illustrations (both textual and drawings), snatches of interviews, narratives and worked examples are utilised effectively to support the intricacies of the argument presented... it is, however, highly readable because it challenges conventional notions. It presents a critique of practice and, in doing so, offers new understandings and a new methodology that is in equal parts intriguing, enjoyable and convincing.' British Journal of Social Work 'The author identifies evaluation and inquiry as practice tasks in social work just as much as assessment, planning, intervention and review. He also emphasizes that evaluation is part of every phase of practice. This is a radically new approach to evaluation which merits reading this book... I would argue that the focus on individual skills detailed throughout the chapters really makes this book very much a skills handbook and it is a welcome addition to the existing literature in the field of evaluation in social work. The author notes that qualified practitioners whom he had spoken to recalled that social work education had indeed dealt with evaluation as a concept but they feel it is difficult to translate into practice. This book certainly aids the practitioner in their strivings to include evaluation in their practice... this is an extremely accessible book for social work practitioners. It is well written, well presented and very readable. The examples used are real, meaningful and inspiring. This is a welcome addition to the range of literature on evaluating in social work.' Journal of Social Work '... setting the pace for social work research and evaluation that results in a stimulating and challenging read... A book about the creative potential in the UK of qualitative evaluation by social workers that permeates their practice is timely... a powerful and influential new voice in professional discourse. Shaw is attuned to this culture and encourages its extension into new ways of practising. But political willingness to support and trust the profession is also required to bring it to fruition. We wait to see if the political will is there.' Journal of Social Work Practice 'The book presents a well-developed reflexion about evaluation in the context of social work and also gives concrete indications about the consequences of the reflexion as well as the practice of evaluation. ... The intention of the author to give a pedagogical product is appreciable and fully reached. The interested reader will find enough 'taking it further' information to do so. ... Considering the important and qualitative work, demonstrated not only by the bibliography, as well as the efforts to explain complex issues in an accessible way, the book can be considered a useful contribution to improving the quality of social work.' European Journal of Social Work