The use of research by social workers in agency based settings
Levey, Steven R.
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This research paper is a quantitative analysis of agency and individual social worker characteristics that facilitate or impede the utilization of research in making practice related decisions. Study participants were generated from a national random sample of social workers from the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) database. After eliminating study participants who did not meet the appropriate criteria to be included in the study, 195 members were selected for analysis. This research was modeled after a similar study by Champion & Leach (1989) who examined the barriers and facilitators of research utilization amongst nurses. Both studies examined the use of research and its relationship to the availability, support and attitude towards research. The data for both showed that the more positive the attitude of the social work (or nurse) practitioner towards research, the more likely the practitioner is to use research findings in making practice related decisions. In addition, this study also found that availability and support for research provided by agencies were positively related to its use. The practitioner's level of education had a weaker positive relationship to use of research. Agency staff development and field of practice could not be tested due to problems with the research questionnaire.;Keywords: Organizational culture, attitude, access, support, evidence-based practice.