Introduction

Ever wondered what social workers do? This brief introduction gives you some insight into social work practice and the theory which informs the practice. This unit is made up of a series of six extracts. You are introduced to the four components to good practice and will look at the importance of the following approaches to social work practice:

  • Biography

  • The social context of social work

  • Responding to children’s needs
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References

American College of Sports Medicine (2006) ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (7th edn), London, Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.
Pollock, M.L., Gaesser, G.A., Butcher, J.D., Després, J.P., Dishman, R.K., Franklin, B.A. and Ewing Garber, C. (1998) ‘ACSM position stand: The recommended quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness,
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1.2.2 Reviewing the research: how people understand ‘health’

Being a contested concept, ‘health’ is constantly being redefined and re-evaluated. Lay people do not necessarily accept biomedical definitions of health and illness uncritically. Instead they have a complex web of beliefs, constructs and understandings about health and illness. These inform people's health behaviour, including decisions about whether to self-manage, seek help within local or lay networks, or consult a health professional.

Some lay people regard health as the absenc
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1.5.9 Plagiarism

Referencing is not only useful as a way of sharing information, but also as a means of ensuring that due credit is given to other people’s work. In the electronic information age, it is easy to copy and paste from journal articles and web pages into your own work. But if you do use someone else’s work, you should acknowledge the source by giving a correct reference.

Taking someone's work and not indicating where you took it from is termed plagiarism and is regarded as an infringemen
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1.4.7 T is for Timeliness

The date when information was produced or published can be an important aspect of quality. This is not quite as simple as saying that 'good' information has to be up to date.

Activity

Here is an example of a news item from an onli
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1.4.6 P is for Provenance

The provenance of a piece of information (i.e. who produced it? where did it come from?) may provide another useful clue to its reliability. It represents the 'credentials' of a piece of information that support its status and perceived value. It is therefore very important to be able to identify the author, sponsoring body or source of your information.

Why is this important?

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1.4.4 O is for Objectivity

One of the characteristics of ‘good’ information is that it should be balanced and present both sides of an argument or issue. This way the reader is left to weigh up the evidence and make a decision. In reality, we recognise that no information is truly objective.

This means that the onus is on you, the reader, to develop a critical awareness of the positions represented in what you read, and to take account of this when you interpret the information. In some cases, authors may be
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1.4.3 R is for Relevance

Relevance is an important factor to consider when you are evaluating information. It isn’t so much a property of the information itself but of the relationship it has with your question or your ‘information need’. For example, if you are writing an essay about obesity in the United States, a book or website about health problems in Australasia would probably not be relevant. So there are a number of ways in which a piece of information may not be relevant to your query:

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1.4.2 P is for Presentation

By presentation, we mean, the way in which the information is communicated. You might want to ask yourself:

  • Is the language clear and easy to understand?

  • Is the information clearly laid out so that it is easy to read?

  • Are the fonts large enough and clear?

  • Are the colours effective? (e.g. white or yellow on black can be difficult to read)

  • If there are graphics or photos, do they help
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1.4.1 PROMPT

There is so much information available on the internet on every topic imaginable. But how do you know if it is any good? And if you find a lot more information than you really need, how do you decide what to keep and who to discard?

In this section we are going to introduce a simple checklist to help you to judge the quality of the information you find. Before we do this, spend a few minutes thinking about what is meant by information quality.

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1.3.12 Summary

There is a lot of information available on health and lifestyle via the internet. Try the activity below to start exploring what is available.

Activity

1.3.11 Choosing the right tool for the job

Before searching it is always a good idea to check what the source you have chosen covers to make sure it will unearth information that matches your search need (you will notice that all the resources we’ve covered in this guide have short descriptions to enable you to decide which to use). Some of the decision makers, depending on the context of your search might be:

  • Does it have full text?

  • Does it cover the right subject?


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1.3.10 Allied health resources

There are quality nursing, midwifery and allied health resources  provided free of charge on the Internet. Each resource has been evaluated and categorised by subject specialists based at UK universities.


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1.3.9 Internet resources

There are many websites where you will find useful information on health and lifestyle. With all information on the internet you need to make a judgement on the reliability of the information.

BBC Health The health pages on the BBC website.
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1.3.6 Journals

Journals and articles written by academics or experts are an excellent source of information. Journals are usually published monthly or quarterly, and contain a selection of articles providing details of recent research. Often they will also contain reviews of relevant books. They are usually published more quickly than books, and so are often more up to date.

To access content of journals, most publishers require a subscription. There are, however, some journals which you can freely ac
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1.3.5 Images

Images can also be found online. Some useful image databases are:


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Understanding children: Babies being heard
Here you will find out some of the things very young babies can do. You will also discover how babies can contribute to family life and relationships from birth. You will look at what they need from other adults and children, and what they can learn. First published on Wed, 04 Jan 2012 as Author(s): Creator not set

Infants’ understanding of their social world
Here we draw on a wide range of psychological research to address the question of whether infants have a rich understanding of their social world. You will have the opportunity to read journal papers and newspaper articles as well as to engage with audio clips, and to explore your assumptions about infants' social understanding. First publi
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4.2 Equity issues

The research findings of Farver and Shin (1987) suggested that there are discernible differences between Korean-American and Anglo-American children's pretend play themes. Korean-American play themes seemed to involve minimal social conflict, while Anglo-American children's play themes seemed to involve an emphasis on the individual and could include a degree of aggression. Farver and Shin suggested that these differences were traceable to the different cultural values the children were exper
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Flickr A photo sharing website that contains pictures relating to all subjects. Note that in order to reuse a picture from this site you may need to get the permission of the person who uploaded the photo.