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TACKLING
WICKED PROBLEMS
IN SOCIAL SERVICES:
USING CRITICAL APPROACHES AND
WORKPLACE INFORMATION LITERACY
WITHIN EVIDENCE ...
FOCUS
Wicked problems
 
Social services context
 
Iriss Evidence Search and Summary Service
     
Critical approaches to p...
The challenge is to connect the
world of research and knowledge
on the one hand, and the world of
day to day practice on t...
1. No definitive formulation
2. ‘No stopping rule’ (things keep changing)
3. No true or false answers, but good or bad
4. ...
11. Multiple value conflicts
12. Multiple ideological, political or economic constraints on possible solutions
13. Great r...
although people stated
that they most trusted
academic research, it was
least
used
McCormick 2013
(Carnegie UK Trust 2018)
Structured opportunities for
social workers to engage in
critical reflection and
analysis of knowledge and
evidence are
un...
To be efficient and effective
we need to know and
understand what has already
been done well before; and
how a good unders...
Iriss Evidence Search and
Summary Service
Launched in October 2017, Iriss ESSS is funded
by the Scottish Government. It ai...
1. Research is competing with other
factors in the decision-making process.
2. Decision-makers do not always value
researc...
SERVICE OFFER
Evidence
outputs
Evidence
support
Workplace
information
literacy
Information literacy is the ability to think critically and make
balanced judgements about any information we find and
use...
A sociocultural perspective centres upon communities and
how information literacy “shows itself” in the different collecti...
Knowing what sources of information are relevant and
necessary 
A practice that facilitates a ‘way of knowing’ about the s...
Critical
approaches to
political problems
Accessing paywalled
resources: limited access to
social services content
through NHS Education
Scotland + limited document...
Critical pedagogy is an educational movement
that gives people the opportunity to develop
the knowledge, skills and sense ...
Collaborative, patron-centred exploration
 
Worries about seeming incompetent
 
Lack of agency and authority within system...
Rigorous, transparent and
evidence-focused approaches
familiar in health evidence
 
Social services practice less based
on...
EVIDENCE HIERARCHIES
Using such hierarchies to
exclude all but the highest–
ranking studies from
consideration can lead to...
Quantitative methods of analysis can be developed
consciously to complement the practice of critical
librarianship
Must be...
How's it going?
1. Disability hate crime reporting
2. Child sexual abuse
3. Parental substance misuse 
4. Child sexual abuse images online...
SW assessments (4.17%)
Inform intervention (4.17%)
Funding bids (4.17%)
Innovation (8.33%)
Research (8.33%)
Quality of ser...
Social worker assessments 
Children’s plans
Service development proposals
Training materials 
 Funding proposals
Lecture c...
98%
Writing clarity
98%
Evidence quality
98%
Meets evidence need
94%
Understandable
94%
Meets format requirements
94%
Amou...
Access
Understanding
Awareness
Confidence
0
1
2
3
4
5
Average impact score (out of 5)
EVIDENCE BASED LIBRARY AND
INFORMATION PRACTICE
Positivist approach to LIS in which all practical decisions
made within LI...
Tensions between critical
constructivist approach to
practice and positivist focus of
EBLIP
Necessity of demonstrating
imp...
What's next?
CONVERSATION OPENERS
Encourage practitioners
to critically reflect on their
information practices,
learn from each other
a...
1. Describing the content of discussion 
2. Defining the problem
3. Personalising the problem
4. Discussing the problem
5....
MEANINGFUL EVALUATION
Build evaluation into service design
 
Open Badges - encourage critical
reflection and provide meani...
KEYS TO SUCCESS
Interdisciplinarity
Rejection of tradition for
tradition's sake
Non-hierarchical structure
Whole-system ap...
Berg, SA (2018) 'Quantitative researchers, critical librarians' in Nicholson, KP and Seale, M (Eds.) (2018) The politics o...
Illustrations by Ali Jones and Josie Vallely
Graphics by Lauren Smith using Piktochart
IMAGES
QUESTIONS?
THANK YOU 
@walky...
Using principles of evidence based practice, critical pedagogy and workplace information literacy to tackle wicked problem...
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Using principles of evidence based practice, critical pedagogy and workplace information literacy to tackle wicked problems in the context of social services information support in Scotland - Smith

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Using principles of evidence based practice, critical pedagogy and workplace information literacy to tackle wicked problems in the context of social services information support in Scotland - Smith

  1. 1. TACKLING WICKED PROBLEMS IN SOCIAL SERVICES: USING CRITICAL APPROACHES AND WORKPLACE INFORMATION LITERACY WITHIN EVIDENCE BASED PRACTICE DR LAUREN SMITH | KNOWLEDGE MANAGER IRISS (INSTITUTE FOR RESEARCH AND INNOVATION IN SOCIAL SERVICES) GLASGOW @walkyouhome
  2. 2. FOCUS Wicked problems   Social services context   Iriss Evidence Search and Summary Service       Critical approaches to practice
  3. 3. The challenge is to connect the world of research and knowledge on the one hand, and the world of day to day practice on the other so that we continue to improve the way we do things. (Scottish Government 2012)
  4. 4. 1. No definitive formulation 2. ‘No stopping rule’ (things keep changing) 3. No true or false answers, but good or bad 4. No immediate and no ultimate test 5. Every solution is a one-shot operation  6. No criteria to prove all options have been considered 7. Every wicked problem is essentially unique 8. Every wicked problem can be considered to be a symptom of another problem 9. How we see problem defines what solutions are tried 10. Planner is liable for the consequences of the actions they generate       Rittel and Webber (1973) WICKED PROBLEMS
  5. 5. 11. Multiple value conflicts 12. Multiple ideological, political or economic constraints on possible solutions 13. Great resistance to change 14. Data to describe the problem is often uncertain or missing 15. Multiple possible intervention points 16. Consequences of intervention difficult to imagine Horn and Weber (2007) SOCIAL MESSES
  6. 6. although people stated that they most trusted academic research, it was least used McCormick 2013 (Carnegie UK Trust 2018)
  7. 7. Structured opportunities for social workers to engage in critical reflection and analysis of knowledge and evidence are uneven and patchy  (Grant et al. 2017)
  8. 8. To be efficient and effective we need to know and understand what has already been done well before; and how a good understanding of the evidence base for any intervention can help with this.  However, it is not always easy to know where to find relevant evidence, or how to assess its quality and make best use of it. (Muirhead and Coutts 2018)
  9. 9. Iriss Evidence Search and Summary Service Launched in October 2017, Iriss ESSS is funded by the Scottish Government. It aims to bridge the knowledge-practice gap, a priority for the Scottish Government, supporting people delivering social services in the public, independent and third sectors to identify and apply evidence, ensuring that decisions about practice, service development are informed by sound evidence.
  10. 10. 1. Research is competing with other factors in the decision-making process. 2. Decision-makers do not always value research evidence. 3. The available research evidence may not be relevant for all audiences or decisionmakers. 4. Research evidence is not always easy to access or use. Lavis et al. (2006)  BARRIERS TO RESEARCH IN ACTION
  11. 11. SERVICE OFFER Evidence outputs Evidence support
  12. 12. Workplace information literacy
  13. 13. Information literacy is the ability to think critically and make balanced judgements about any information we find and use. It empowers us as citizens to develop informed views and to engage fully with society. (CILIP 2018)
  14. 14. A sociocultural perspective centres upon communities and how information literacy “shows itself” in the different collective practices and activities of each group, rather than trying to fit a group’s information actions and understandings to a previously established model of information literacy. (Hicks 2018) 
  15. 15. Knowing what sources of information are relevant and necessary  A practice that facilitates a ‘way of knowing’ about the sources of information that will inform performance and participation Situational and driven by the need to access information contained within the symbols and artefacts and obtained through interactions A problematic and often highly contested practice: information landscapes are socially, politically and historically constituted and this influence shapes information and the type of knowledge and information behaviours and activities that are valued (Lloyd 2010) IL IN THE WORKPLACE
  16. 16. Critical approaches to political problems
  17. 17. Accessing paywalled resources: limited access to social services content through NHS Education Scotland + limited document delivery budget   Copyright limitations: novel service, inappropriate restrictions, complex processes   Referring to sources: how to communicate meaningfully but accurately  Communication with external partners and funder
  18. 18. Critical pedagogy is an educational movement that gives people the opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills and sense of responsibility necessary to engage in a culture of questioning. (Smith 2013) PRINCIPLES OF CRITICAL PEDAGOGY
  19. 19. Collaborative, patron-centred exploration   Worries about seeming incompetent   Lack of agency and authority within system of scholarly knowledge production   Opportunity to render visible and critique the power structures of scholarly knowledge production, search tools, sources and reference itself     Empathy - affective connection   Explaining what we're trying and why   "I don't know, let's find out together" (Wallis 2017)
  20. 20. Rigorous, transparent and evidence-focused approaches familiar in health evidence   Social services practice less based on reviews of academic/research evidence   Acknowledgement that 'knowledge' in social services is not only from peer reviewed journals but also includes accounts of good practice and lived experience
  21. 21. EVIDENCE HIERARCHIES Using such hierarchies to exclude all but the highest– ranking studies from consideration can lead to the loss of useful evidence (Nutley et al. 2013) Neglect too many important and relevant issues around evidence   Tend to underrate the value of good observational studies    Pay insufficient attention to the need to understand what works, for whom, in what circumstances and why (programme theory)   Provide an insufficient basis for making recommendations about whether interventions should be adopted Hierarchies based on study design:
  22. 22. Quantitative methods of analysis can be developed consciously to complement the practice of critical librarianship Must be driven by the intent to challenge social inequities e.g. quantitative inquiry around who's being cited, knowledge from which societies are privileged above others, whose voices are heard  Use the insights gained to critically reflect and (crucially) act on practices of searching, summarising and representing knowledge (Berg 2018) Applying critical quantitative appraisal to evidence used in summaries
  23. 23. How's it going?
  24. 24. 1. Disability hate crime reporting 2. Child sexual abuse 3. Parental substance misuse  4. Child sexual abuse images online  5. Social work student placements 6. Distributed leadership in early years 7. Voluntary social care recruitment 8. Self directed support in rural areas 9. Palliative and end of life care 10. Coercive and controlling behaviour We have produced 10 Outlines across a range of topics of relevance to the social services workforce in Scotland:
  25. 25. SW assessments (4.17%) Inform intervention (4.17%) Funding bids (4.17%) Innovation (8.33%) Research (8.33%) Quality of services (12.50%) Evaluate impact (12.50%) Staff development (12.50%) Other (12.50%) Knowledge and skills (20.83%) EVIDENCE NEEDS
  26. 26. Social worker assessments  Children’s plans Service development proposals Training materials   Funding proposals Lecture content and slides Articles sharing good practice
  27. 27. 98% Writing clarity 98% Evidence quality 98% Meets evidence need 94% Understandable 94% Meets format requirements 94% Amount of evidence 94% Usefulness of evidence 92% Evidence access Outputevaluation
  28. 28. Access Understanding Awareness Confidence 0 1 2 3 4 5 Average impact score (out of 5)
  29. 29. EVIDENCE BASED LIBRARY AND INFORMATION PRACTICE Positivist approach to LIS in which all practical decisions made within LIS should be based on research studies. These research studies are selected and interpreted according to some specific norms. Typically such norms disregard theoretical studies and qualitative studies and consider quantitative studies according to a narrow set of criteria of what counts as evidence. (Wikipedia 2015)
  30. 30. Tensions between critical constructivist approach to practice and positivist focus of EBLIP Necessity of demonstrating impact of work and reporting positive, quantifiable outcomes within context of precarious employment Difficulty in attributing causality to changes in social service workforce's information behaviour   Looking at quantitative empirical approaches through a critical lens (Berg 2018)
  31. 31. What's next?
  32. 32. CONVERSATION OPENERS Encourage practitioners to critically reflect on their information practices, learn from each other and identify what they need to use knowledge in action   Starting points for learning opportunities and guidance led by 'learner' not 'educator'       Based on principles of problem posing education   Alternative to banking model of educationOutcomes & CO tool developed by Ellen Daly and designed by Ian Phillip, Iriss
  33. 33. 1. Describing the content of discussion  2. Defining the problem 3. Personalising the problem 4. Discussing the problem 5. Discussing the alternatives of the problem
  34. 34. MEANINGFUL EVALUATION Build evaluation into service design   Open Badges - encourage critical reflection and provide meaningful feedback with opportunity for dialogue   Longitudinal studies of impact on professional practice   Discussions across sector around impact of interventions and areas for improvement
  35. 35. KEYS TO SUCCESS Interdisciplinarity Rejection of tradition for tradition's sake Non-hierarchical structure Whole-system approach Openness to 'new' practices Freedom to fail
  36. 36. Berg, SA (2018) 'Quantitative researchers, critical librarians' in Nicholson, KP and Seale, M (Eds.) (2018) The politics of theory and the practice of librarianship. Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press. Carnegie UK Trust (2018) Evidence exchange 2017: evidence use and trust. https://www.carnegieuktrust.org.uk/carnegieuktrust/wp- content/uploads/sites/64/2018/03/Evidence-Exchange-infographic.pdf  Cavaleri, Steven A. (2008) Are learning organizations pragmatic? Learning Organization 15(6), pp.474–85 Coutts, P and Brotchie, J (2017) The Scottish approach to evidence: a discussion paper. https://www.carnegieuktrust.org.uk/publications/scottish-approach-evidence- discussion-paper/   Grant, S et al. (2017) Newly qualified social workers’ readiness for practice in Scotland. British Journal of Social Work, 47(2), pp.487–506 Grint, K (2010) Wicked problems and the role of leadership. http://informalnetworks.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Wicked_problems_and_the_role_of_leadership.pdf  Grint, K (2008) Wicked problems and clumsy solutions: the role of leadership. Clinical Leader 1(2), pp.11–15 Hicks, A (2018) 'Making the case for a sociocultural perspective in information literacy' in Nicholson, KP and Seale, M (Eds.) (2018) The politics of theory and the practice of librarianship. Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press. Horn, RE and Weber, RP (2007) New Tools for Resolving Wicked Problems: Mess Mapping and Resolution Mapping Processes. Watertown, MA: Strategy Kinetics LLC. http://www.strategykinetics.com/New_Tools_For_Resolving_Wicked_Problems.pdf  James, W (1907) Pragmatism: a new name for some old ways of thinking. New York: Longman, Greens and Co.  https://archive.org/details/157unkngoog  Lavis, J., Lomas, J., Hamid, M. & Sewankambo, N. (2006) 'Assessing country-level efforts to link research to action', Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 84(1), pp.620-628 Lloyd, A-M (2010) 'Information literacy in the workplace landscape' in Lloyd, A-M (Ed.) Information Literacy Landscapes. London: Chandos Muirhead, S and Coutts, P (2018) Scottish evidence summit 2018, event report. https://www.iriss.org.uk/news/features/2018/03/19/scottish-evidence-summit-2018-event- report  NHS Digital (2018) Information sharing presents major barrier to social workers. https://digital.nhs.uk/article/8558/Information-sharing-presents-major-barrier-to-social-workers  Nutley, S et al. (2013) What counts as good evidence? Provocation for the Alliance for Useful Evidence. https://www.alliance4usefulevidence.org/assets/What-Counts-as- Good-Evidence-WEB.pdf  Parkhurst, J (2016) Appeals to evidence for the resolution of wicked problems: the origins and mechanisms of evidentiary bias. Policy Sciences, 49(4) pp.373–393 Rittel, HW and Webber, MM (1973) Dilemmas in a general theory of planning. Policy Sciences 4(2), pp.155–169 Scottish Government (2012)Knowledge into action: a strategy and action plan for in Scotland’s Social Services 2012-15  https://www.gov.scot/Resource/0040/00404827.pdf Smith, L (2013) Towards a model of critical information literacy instruction for the development of political agency. Journal of Information Literacy, 7(2) pp.15-32 Wallis, L (2017) 'Information of my own: peer reference and feminist pedagogy' in Accardi, M (Ed.) The feminist reference desk: concepts, critiques, and conversations. Sacramento, CA: Library Juice Press Wikipedia (2015) Evidence based library and information practice. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence-based_library_and_information_practice  REFERENCES AND READING
  37. 37. Illustrations by Ali Jones and Josie Vallely Graphics by Lauren Smith using Piktochart IMAGES QUESTIONS? THANK YOU  @walkyouhome

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