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Social Work Science$
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Ian Shaw

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780231166409

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231166409.001.0001

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Social Work Science and Understanding

Social Work Science and Understanding

(p.184) [7] Social Work Science and Understanding
Social Work Science

Ian Shaw

Columbia University Press

In this chapter I continue the exploration of three central concerns for social work science—evidence, justice, and, here, understanding. The challenges and questions are, if anything, still more extensive and less tractable than concerns about evidence in social work science. In the first part of the chapter I consider what is intended when we speak of understanding and, in certain senses, knowing something. I then ask: 1. In what senses do social workers and social work scientists possess expertise? 2. In what ways does it make sense to speak of social work science as shaped by commonsense knowledge? 3. What do we know explicitly or tacitly? 4. What is involved when critical reflection, judgment, and discretion are exercised in social work science? 5. In what ways can we say that choices regarding method in social work inquiry are formed by science as understanding?

Keywords:   Understanding, Experience, Common-sense, Expertise, Lay knowledge, Tacit knowledge, Judgment, Accountability

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