Reconceptualising Professional Knowledge: The Changing Role of Knowledge and Evidence in Social Work Practice

Lynn Kelly (Lead / Corresponding author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)
    307 Downloads (Pure)


    New socio-economic conditions have necessitated different approaches to professional learning and decision making and alternative perspectives are required to properly understand and engage with the complexity of the world of work, learning and doing. This paper considers the international literature in relation to professional learning in the context of evidence based practice and knowledge exchange and considers how we might overcome existing barriers to implement a more knowledge based approach to social work practice. By adopting Actor Network Theory and socio-material theories, this paper begins to consider alternative perspectives on professional learning and knowledge exchange as implementation in social work. The paper argues that the production of knowledge itself is not enough to guarantee that even the best knowledge will have any utility in practice and that we now need to search for more effective ways of generating and implementing new knowledge. Furthermore, more attention needs to be given to how current approaches to research design, dissemination and implantation could become more meaningful for practice.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)245-256
    Number of pages12
    JournalSocial Work Education
    Issue number3
    Early online date10 Aug 2016
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2017


    • professional learning
    • evidence based practice
    • knowledge transfer
    • implementation science
    • actor network theory
    • social network analysis
    • social work
    • child protection


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