Gambrill (2010). Evidence informed practice Antidote to propaganda in the helping professions

Gambrill (2010). Evidence informed practice Antidote to propaganda in the helping professions

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http://rsw.sagepub.com/ Research on Social Work Practice http://rsw.sagepub.com/content/20/3/302 The online version of this article can be found at: DOI: 10.1177/1049731509347879 2010 20: 302 originally published online 1 April 2010 Research on Social Work Practice Eileen Gambrill Evidence-Informed Practice: Antidote to Propaganda in the Helping Professions? Published by: http://www.sagepublications.com can be found at: Research on Social Work Practice Additional services and information for http://rsw.sagepub.com/cgi/alerts Email Alerts: http://rsw.sagepub.com/subscriptions Subscriptions: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsReprints.nav Reprints: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav Permissions: http://rsw.sagepub.com/content/20/3/302.refs.html Citations: at SAN JOSE STATE UNIV on August 1, 2011 rsw.sagepub.com Downloaded from
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Invited Articles Evidence-Informed Practice: Antidote to Propaganda in the Helping Professions? Eileen Gambrill 1 Abstract The most concerning issue affecting the quality of practices and policies in the helping professions is the play of propaganda, which misleads us regarding what is a problem, how (or if) it can be detected, its causes, and how (or if) it can be remedied. Propaganda is defined as encouraging beliefs and actions with the least thought possible. Censorship is integral to propaganda including hiding well-argued alternatives and lack of evidence for claims. Evidence-based practice was developed in part because of misleading claims in the professional literature. If propaganda is an integral part of our society, we cannot escape its influence. But we can become aware of it, encouraged by ethical obligations to avoid harming in the name of helping. Keywords evidence-based practice, propaganda, ethics I suggest that the most concerning issue affecting the quality of practices and policies in social work, as well as in other helping professions, is the play of propaganda, which misleads us regarding what is a problem, how (or if) it an be detected, what are its causes, and how (or if) it can be remedied as illustrated by promoting anxiety in social situations as a mental disorder defined as encouraging beliefs and actions with the least thought possible (Ellul, 1965). The major kind of propaganda in the helping profession consists of inflated claims of knowl- edge: (a) claims regarding the effectiveness of certain products and services, including assessment methods and frameworks; (b) claims about what is a problem or risk; (c) claims about alleged causes of concerns; (d) claims about the competence of professionals; and (e) claims regarding what certain research methods can or cannot test. We live in a sea of propaganda pitches, including propaganda in the helping professions and related industries such as big pharma (the pharmaceutical industry), biotech companies, the psychological assessment industry, and the health insurance industry. Propaganda pro-
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This note was uploaded on 03/03/2012 for the course SCWK 242 taught by Professor Fredprochaska during the Spring '12 term at San Jose State University .

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Gambrill (2010). Evidence informed practice Antidote to propaganda in the helping professions

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