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Using Decision Analysis: Connecting Classroom and Field
This paper reports on the findings of a small-scale research project investigating the views of social work students on the use of decision analysis. After giving the context of the research, the article reports on what was found when students, who had just completed a Decision Making and Risk module, were asked for their opinions on the component parts of decision analysis, its use as a practice tool and their attitudes to using it on placement. The research found that the respondents in general took a critical and supportive stance towards the use of decision analysis in social work and, with extra teaching and a positive approach from their practice assessor, would be happy to use decision analysis. When the same group of students completed a follow-up questionnaire on a placement recall day, half of them had thought about using decision analysis but only three had gone on to discuss this with their practice assessors. Some issues in relation to connecting 'classroom' and 'field' are identified and the paper concludes that a number of further steps would be necessary to realise the potential of decision analysis to help students be more systematic and analytical in their approach to decision making.