I believe that one can rarely go about their work today in our field without hearing the phrases, “The research says…” or “What we know…”. I’ve found this experience of research being used as a tool to explain an absolute to be very fascinating. Let me be clear, I am the first person to find value in researching a process, concept, ideal, or mechanism for change. I am not in favor of being back in a place where, “This is how it’s been done”, was used to promote programs that are ineffective for communities. What I’ve become weary of is research becoming sacrosanct and critical analysis of the process one uses to gather data and the subsequent body of research created not getting questioned. This is of course in part influenced by the fact that as a Social Worker I’ve worked in communities research has not touched. Instead, models of practice have been imposed upon them that are not reflective of their unique socioeconomic and cultural experiences.
What I’d like to hear is a combination of what research may imply and what information still needs to be gathered. I’d love to have a conversation in which someone points out not only the data that has been gathered but what still needs to found out. I’d dance a little jig of happiness if the next time an evidence based curriculum was referred to, folks would acknowledge “perfect” models can’t always be applied to society’s not so “perfect” people. I don’t want to dismantle the whole system, I’d just like to make sure what the research is saying has meaning for everyone.