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Showing posts with label Social Work. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Social Work. Show all posts

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Career Opportunities in Social Work

Career Opportunities in Social WorkSocial work is both a profession and social science. It involves the application of social theory and research methods to study and improve the lives of people, groups, and societies. It incorporates and utilizes other social sciences as a means to improve the human condition and positively change society’s response to chronic problems. Social work is a profession committed to the pursuit of social justice, to the enhancement of the quality of life, and to the development of the full potential of each individual, group and community in the society. It seeks to simultaneously address and resolve social issues at every level of society and economic status, but especially among the poor and sick.

Social workers are concerned with social problems, their causes, their solutions and their human impacts. They work with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. Social work and human history go together. Social work was always in human societies although it began to be a defined pursuit and profession in the 19th century. This definition was in response to societal problems that resulted from the Industrial Revolution and an increased interest in applying scientific theory to various aspects of study. Eventually an increasing number of educational institutions began to offer social work programmes.

Social work has its roots in the struggle of society to ameliorate poverty and the resultant problems. Therefore, social work is intricately linked with the idea of charity work; but must be understood in broader terms. The concept of charity goes back to ancient times, and the practice of providing for the poor can be found in all major world religions. The practice and profession of modern social work has a relatively long scientific origin, originating in the 19th Century. The movement began primarily in Europe and North America. The settlement movement’s emphasis on advocacy and case work became part of social work practice. During the 20th century, the profession began to rely more on research and evidenced-based practice as it attempted to improve its professionalism. Today social workers are employed in a myriad of pursuits and settings.

The International Federation of Social Workers states, of social work today, "social work bases its methodology on a systematic body of evidence-based knowledge derived from research and practice evaluation, including local and indigenous knowledge specific to its context. It recognizes the complexity of interactions between human beings and their environment, and the capacity of people both to be affected by and to alter the multiple influences upon them including bio-psychosocial factors. The social work profession draws on theories of human development and behaviour and social systems to analyze complex situations and to facilitate individual, organizational, social and cultural changes."
The current state of social work professional development is characterized by two realities. There is a great deal of traditional social and psychological research (both qualitative and quantitative) being carried out primarily by university-based researchers and by researchers based in institutes, foundations, or social service agencies. Meanwhile, many social work practitioners continue to look to their own experience for knowledge. This is a continuation of the debate that has persisted since the outset of the profession in the first decade of the twentieth century.

One reason for the gap between information obtained through practice, as opposed to through research, is that practitioners deal with situations that are unique and idiosyncratic, while research concentrates on similarities. The combining of these two types of knowledge is often imperfect. A hopeful development for bridging this gap is the compilation, in many practice fields, of collections of "best practices" which attempt to distill research findings and the experience of respected practitioners into effective practice techniques.[citation needed] Although social work has roots in the informatics revolution, an important contemporary development in the profession is overcoming suspicion of technology and taking advantage of the potential of information technology to empower clients.