Keynote Address: Whose Evidence Counts?
A critical appraisal of evidence-based interventions in the helping professions
In the last fifteen years in Australia, the human services field has adopted various models of evidence-based interventions to guide policies, research and practice. Evidence-based practice encourages practitioners to use empirically-tested methods of helping to frame their interventions. In this view, counselling practice should be based on the best evidence available. However, what constitutes evidence and who chooses it? There are competing claims as to what counts as evidence. Can evidence-based practice be developed outside of a positivist paradigm and a scientist-practitioner model? Can it incorporate qualitative research, professional practice wisdom, consumer perspectives and a value-critical analysis of research? This paper examines the epistemological underpinnings of evidence-based interventions and the implications for evidence-based practice of competing epistemological and political perspectives on the nature and uses of knowledge.
Bob Pease is Chair of Social Work at Deakin University in Geelong. He has published extensively on masculinity politics and critical social work practice, including four books as single author and eight books as co-editor, as well as numerous book chapters and journal articles. His most recent books include: Critical Social Work Theories and Practices for a Socially Just World: (co-editor, second edition, Allen and Unwin 2009), Migrant Men: Critical Studies of Masculinities and the Migration Experience (co-editor, Routledge, 2009), Undoing Privilege: Unearned Advantage in a Divided World (Zed 2010) and Men and Masculinities Around the World: Transforming Men's Practices (co-editor, Palgrave 2011).