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The Two Embedded Research Functions of Heuristic Case Practice

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In social work's formative years, practice, education, training, research and theory building were an integrated whole within the field. However, when educational responsibilities moved to tertiary institutions, research and theory building was also claimed as a primary responsibility by these bodies. Since then, the function of research has been seen from the perspective of tertiary institutions as the post hoc evaluation of intervention effectiveness. The present paper proposes that two distinct types of research remain seamlessly embedded within everyday case practice, namely Interventive research and Modelling research. Interventive research is the information gathering and synthesising process creating a theory of one that guides each intervention. Modelling research is the reflective linking of interventions over a class of cases to build practice wisdom and guide future interventions in similar cases. Such research is not free from experimental control, as has been assumed in the past, but has a number of embedded bias controls that protect the integrity of practice interventions by giving greater reliability and validity than assumed previously.
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Keywords: Heuristic; Interventive; Modelling

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2006

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