Aaron Rosen Lecture: Back to the Future: Using Social Work Research to Improve Social Work Practice
Friday, January 18, 2013: 1:15 PM-2:15 PM
Harbor Island Ballroom 3 (Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina)
Diane DePanfilis, PhD, MSW, University of Maryland at Baltimore
The Aaron Rosen Lecture is intended to move the field forward in terms of the integration of practice and research. Yet, the long standing tension between the art and science of social work practice continues. Using contributions from intervention research and implementation science, this lecture proposes methods for building effective collaborations between social work researchers and social work agencies to systematically use science based methods for designing, adapting, and testing social work interventions. Because social work is concerned with complex social problems that donít lend themselves to narrowly targeted interventions, the intervention design phase must carefully construct research and theory based interventions congruent with the complex nature of these problems. This process requires intervention developers capable of engaging stakeholders to conceptualize and map mechanisms and pathways between the definition and nature of the problem with specific intervention components that are theorized to result in carefully targeted intervention outcomes. The progression from the preclinical or theoretical phase of intervention design will be traced through the early modeling and exploratory pilot phases of the process. This requires that social work researchers are actively engaged in leading the design of social work practices, not just in roles to evaluate existing interventions that may be poorly constructed and specified. The design phase of social work intervention research is crucial prior to moving to rigorous tests of efficacy and effectiveness.