By Judith Milner, Patrick O’Byrne (auth.), Jo Campling (eds.)
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Additional resources for Assessment in Social Work
1 A data collection grid For example, the community column might reflect a rundown neighbourhood, and the society column raci sm or a media campaign again st a particular user group. It is alwa ys important that these 's ocial' columns, and not just the individual or 'psy chological' part s of the grid , are con sidered. We use the term 'data' simpl y to signify factual information. Bec ause facts do not alway s speak for them selves and there is an element of subjective interpretation in most informationgathering, a distinction is sometimes drawn between 'data', which are unprocessed and raw, and 'information', which is interpreted and integrated into other knowledge.
To answer these questions, we take the reader back to stage 3 of our initial overall framework - weighing the data. It is at this stage in the assessment process that the social worker makes judgments and evaluations on how well service users are doing in their particular circumstances. Are their strengths sufficient or are their limitations too great? Do their capacities and resources seem to be sufficient for coping? How does the difficulty or the particular situation compare with the norm?
There are many 'maps' from which to choose, but here we present five of those traditionally best known in social work and a more recent and less well-known one. None of the resulting analytic descriptions can reproduce reality; they can only propose helpful re-understandings : It is now widely accepted that any statement that postulates meaning is interpretive - that these statements are the outcome of an enquiry that is determined by our maps or analogies or, as Goffman puts it, by 'our interpretive frameworks' .