Presentation on theme: "Analysis and Hypotheses Steve Walker Head of Child and Family Services City and County of Swansea."— Presentation transcript:
Analysis and Hypotheses Steve Walker Head of Child and Family Services City and County of Swansea
Analysis in Assessment Analysis: The resolution or breaking up of something complex into its various simple elements; the exact determination of the elements or components of something complex Hypothesis: A supposition, an assumption; esp one made as a starting point for further investigation or research from known facts
Steps in Assessment Problem/issue identified Plan assessment Gather information Organise information Identify key issues/trends (analysis) Consider possible solutions (analysis) Come up with a plan
Steps in Assessment Irrespective of the complexity of the problem we should go through these steps; We may do this explicitly or implicitly; This will vary with the way in which we manage information/deal with problems
Analytic or Intuitive reason? John aged 11 lives with his mother. His father, to whom John was very attached, left the family home when he was 7 and has had no contact with John in three years. John’s mother has struggled with depression. She was admitted to hospital on an emergency basis eighteen months ago when John was at school. She was in hospital for three months, during which time John lived with foster carers. John returned home a year ago and since that time he has hardly attended school. He complains that he gets stomach ache. His mother has not taken him to the GP. What is your initial Response to this information?
Analytic or Intuitive reason? Analytic reason is characterised as,’ step by step, conscious, logically defensive process’. Intuitive reason is explained as,’ a cognitive, process that somehow produces an answer, solution or idea without the use of a conscious, logically defensible, step by step process’ [Hammond 1996 p60]
Analytic reason Analytic reason can be viewed as practice knowledge, that is the empirical and research evidence that informs practice The strengths of analytic reason are that it is clear and explicit. Its weaknesses are: it is difficult to apply when there are a large number of variables; Reliability of research evidence; Accessibility of research evidence; Not free from practitioner bias; Can be time consuming.
Intuitive reason Intuitive reason can be viewed as practice wisdom, that is developed from practitioners’ reflections on their experiences in practice. The strengths of intuitive reason are that it can be applied rapidly in complex situations The weaknesses of intuitive reason are: There is no way to establish the reliability or validity of decisions; It is hidden; It is not objective; It generates only low level theories; It takes time to develop and It cannot be applied consistently It often carries with it a strong psychological sense of feeling right
Analytic or Intuitive reason? The way in which we think will affect the way in which we gather and analyse information during assessments and The decisions that we make
Analytic and Intuitive reason Intuitive reason/practice wisdom can be integrated into an assessment in the manner in which the practitioner approaches the assessment and in the development of hypotheses Analytic reason/practice knowledge can be used in an assessment to challenge initial assumptions, review the sources of information and test hypotheses
Initial Assumptions/Judgements What do I know about this particular culture/background/issue/community; Where does my knowledge come from? What prejudices do I hold (positive/negative)? What do I know or expect of children of this age, their lives and needs? What might surprise me about this family, and why would this be a surprise? How might I be perceived by this family/community? How might the assessment and my agency be perceived? What impact might the assessment have on this family’s life and on their perceptions of their lives? What agency norms and practices do I take with me on an assessment? (For example. Awareness of risk, thresholds of good enough parenting, resource restrictions.) [Holland, S (2004)]
Initial Assumptions/Judgements Managers/supervisors play an crucial and critical role in challenging a practitioner’s initial assumptions and judgements What is the evidence that supports the judgement What is the evidence that does not support this judgements Imagine that you are taking the opposite view and think of reason’s why your current judgement may be wrong Being critical of ones judgements is a difficult intellectual task but it is also challenging emotionally
Developing Hypothesis Hypothesis in social work is about moving beyond a description of what is happening in a child’s life to an explanation or understanding of why things may be happening. There may be more than one hypothesis that explains or gives an understanding of a situation The key criterion in the final selection of a hypothesis is that it is ‘least likely to be wrong’. Absolute certainty can never be achieved Any hypotheses - even the one selected as being ‘least likely to be wrong’ - is only provisional and may have to be reviewed in the light of further information.
Developing Hypothesis The hypotheses tree as a tool for generating and evaluating hypothesis
The hypotheses tree It goes from left to right and starts with the issue/concerns; It then moves to identify hypotheses that explain the issue; The evidence that supports and does not support each hypotheses is then considered; Where necessary any further information or actions necessary to identify the least hypotheses least likely to be wrong are identified; The outcomes of this information/actions are applied to identify the least hypotheses least likely to be wrong.
The hypotheses tree John aged 11 lives with his mother. His father, to whom John was very attached, left the family home when he was 7 and John has had no contact with John in three years. John’s mother has struggled with depression and was admitted to hospital on an emergency basis eighteen months ago and John was admitted to foster care for three months. John has missed most of the last two terms of school. He complains that he gets stomach ache. His mother has not taken him to the GP.
John not attending School/ Educational needs not being met John worried Mum may be re-admitted to hospital School phobic Being bullied at school Young carer Mother keeping John at home Physical cause Behaviour started since mother hospitalised Attachment theory Does not explain any physical symptoms Explains physical symptoms John’s behaviour during visits Coincidence of timing ISSUEHYPOTHESIS SUPPORTING OPPOSING INFORMATION INFORMATION
Analysing needs What needs of the child are being met What are the consequences for the child if each need continues to be met In the short term In the long term
Analysing needs What needs of the child are not being met What are the consequences for the child if each need continues to be unmet In the short term In the long term
Planning interventions What are the options available to support strengths/ensure needs are met? What strength or need is being targeted What resources are available Which of these is the family most likely to cooperate with? Which will produce the required change in the timescale necessary for the child?
Planning interventions Outcomes: how will we know that an intervention is working (or has worked) Specific Measurable Achievable Related to the Assessment Timescale
Assessment – A checklist for managers Planning Are you aware of any assumptions that the practitioner holds about the case? Does the practitioner have access to any specialist knowledge they need to inform their assessment? Does the practitioner have a clear plan for the assessment:
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Assessment and analysis A checklist for managers
General Is there an up to date assessment on the file; Is it based on existing information and patterns as well as current issues or concerns; Is it based on all relevant sources of information – family and other professionals as well as written sources Are there any assumptions that are not supported by the evidence; Has it been shared with the family; Does the assessment inform planning, case recording and transfer and closing summaries; Is the assessment progressing appropriately - is the practitioner being affected by ‘assessment paralysis’
Planning/Information gathering Are you aware of any assumptions that the practitioner holds about the case? Does the practitioner the necessary knowledge base to undertake this assessment (e.g. of cultural, disability issues) or have access to any specialist knowledge they may need to inform their assessment? Does the practitioner have a plan for the assessment: Is it clear; relevant to the issues; Achievable Does it use appropriate and varied approaches; Does it take account of existing information about the family
Analysis Is the information gathered organised systematically in a manner that enables you – and the practitioner to identify issues and patterns Does the practitioner go beyond description of what is happening to an explanation of why this may be occurring? What evidence (in this case and from wider sources) support this hypothesis; What other explanations has the practitioner considered and why have they discounted these?
Planning Does the practitioner have a clear plan for intervention: Is it clearly and directly related to the assessment? Does it identify clear and measurable objectives? Is it realistic – in terms of parental cooperation and change and the resources required and available Is it within the child’s timescale?