AbstractThe knowledge base of social work The relationship between social work practice and knowledge has always been ambivalent, sometimes even dismissive. The social work profession emphasises the need to link theory and practice, making this ability a requirement for qualification. It has been argued that the ‘insistence that theory and practice are complementary aspects of the same thing is part of a verbal rather than a real tradition in social work’ (Sheldon, 1978:1). Other research shows that few social workers inform their work with theory, being more likely to rely on their own experience or advice from colleagues (Carew, 1979). Sheldon's work uncovered two distinct subcultures within social work, a theoretical one and a practice one. Findings of work undertaken by the theoretical subculture are either not believed, by the practice subculture, or ‘are seen as the products of a process which has little direct relevance to the practice situation’ .
CitationCosis-Brown, H. (1996) ‘The knowledge base of social work’, in A. A.Vass, (ed), Social Work Competences: Core Knowledge, Values and Skills, London: Sage, pp.8-35.
PublisherSAGE Publications Ltd