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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences eTheses
Title: An ecology of judgement: Sense-making in child welfare and protection social work
Author(s): Helm, Duncan
Supervisor(s): Daniel, Brigid
McIntosh, Ian
Keywords: Social work
Child Welfare
Child Protection
Decision making
Cognitive continuum
Issue Date: Mar-2017
Publisher: University of Stirling
Citation: Helm, D. (2011) Judgements or Assumptions? The Role of Analysis in Assessing Children and Young People's Needs. British Journal of Social Work. 41,5, pp894–911
Helm, D. and Roesch-Marsh, A. (2017) The Ecology of Judgement: A Model for Understanding and Improving Social Work Judgements. British Journal of Social Work. 47, 5, pp1361-1376
Helm, D. (2013) Sense-making in a social work office: an ethnographic study of safeguarding judgements. Child and Family Social Work. 21, 1, pp26-35
Helm, D. (2017) Can I have a word? Social Worker Interaction and Sense-Making. Child Abuse Review 26, 5, pp388-398
Abstract: This thesis is submitted for the award of PhD by publication. It comprises four interconnected, published research papers linked by a contextualising narrative. The publications are all peer-reviewed research articles published between 2012 and 2017 in relevant UK journals. I am the sole author of three of the papers and first author of one paper. My thesis considers how social workers make sense of complex and uncertain information in child welfare and protection social work. My first paper considers the how an understanding of human judgement and sense-making can influence social worker's capacity of child-focused thinking. My synthesis of the literature indicated that social workers' styles of judgement are strongly bounded or influenced by external factors such as complexity of information and time available to make decisions. It is this "bounded" model of rationality which I have employed to provide the theoretical and conceptual framework for this thesis. I have included two papers exploring data which I collected in a non-participatory ethnographic study of social workers' sense-making in a local authority children and families team. These papers represent a valuable contribution to current understandings of social work sense-making. This naturalistic study identified a number of key themes and processes in sense-making which are directly relevant to developing and maintaining best practice. The final paper was developed over the period of my PhD studies. The paper builds on existing research and develops theories of bounded rationality into a conceptual model which I have referred to as an "Ecology of Judgement" for child welfare and protection social work. By modelling the complex interplay between the mind of the social worker and the information environment in which they are operating the model has utility in practice development and research.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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File Description SizeFormat 
Linking narrative.docxLinking Narrative246.86 kBWord DocumentView/Open
Paper 1 - Judgements or assumptions.pdfPaper 1124.78 kBAdobe PDFUnder Permanent Embargo    Request a copy
Paper 2 - Ecology of Judgement.pdfPaper 2186.2 kBAdobe PDFUnder Permanent Embargo    Request a copy
Paper 3 - An ethnographic study.pdfPaper 3125.08 kBAdobe PDFUnder Permanent Embargo    Request a copy
Paper 4 .pdfPaper 4123.26 kBAdobe PDFUnder Permanent Embargo    Request a copy
Appendix 1 Research agreement .pdfAppendix 1174.86 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
Appendix 2 ethics proposal.pdfAppendix 2399.64 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
Appendix 3 PID Scale.pdfAppendix 3749.71 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
Appendix 4 Ecology of judgement report.pdfAppendix 4114.43 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
Appendix 5 BASPCAN 2015 DH.pdfAppendix 51.32 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
Appendix 6 - Head and Heart WithScotland 2016.pdfAppendix 61.74 MBAdobe PDFView/Open

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