What the Practitioner Knows Versus What the Client is Told!

Jerome C. Wakefield, Stuart A. Kirk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article revisits the question, pursued in an interchange between Thomas (1978) and Gambrill and Barth (1980), on whether conflicts exist between service goals and research goals in the use of single-system experimental designs (SSDs) for practice evaluation. The authors approach the issue through an analysis of how informed consent is handled in one widely used textbook promoting the SSD model of practice evaluation. They argue that the text’s suggestions for what to tell the client about reasons for using SSDs ignore knowledge acquisition goals emphasized elsewhere in the text, thus obscuring possible conflicts between the needs of the client and the requirements of SSD methodology. These failures of informed consent reveal largely neglected conflicts between practice and evaluation goals within the SSD model commonly taught to social work students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-291
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Social Work Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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