Research Utilization -- Application of Findings


Dr. Helen Rehr, Mt. Sinai Hospital
Dr. Barbara Morrison, New York State Office of Mental Health


Rick Greenberg, JBFCS

Shirley Jenkins, Center Director, notes "The bottom line for social work research is that the research findings must have utility for practice. Elegance of design, sophistication of statistics, and soundness of theory are all beside the point if the pr oblem which is addressed has little relevance to client needs or service delivery."

The collaborative effort of researchers and practitioners was seen as bearing an inherent tension. How these two pieces of the same puzzle can be coalesced was discussed. One of the difficulties raised was the competition for resources. With limited av ailability of funds -- who should get them? Another issue was accountability. How does/should the profession hold researchers accountable to clients? If monies are being used for research -- what is "given back" to practice?

Research has to be wary of its misuse. The knowledge gained from the research needs to be understood so as to advance practice/policy/the profession. As well, research is not just an outcome; it is also a process. Social Workers need to look at and und erstand the process and its impact on the profession. A multi-disciplinary approach to research in social work was advocated.

Schools of social work have great responsibility. The schools need to prepare future professionals in a "way of thinking". We are a profession of "doers" who need to understand research as a way of building knowledge to future practice and policy.