: Information behaviour, Information seeking, Information-base, Knowledge-base., Social Work.
In the debate about what informs social work practice, research remains the dominant discourse. However, the relationship between research and social work practice has always been an uneasy one, arguably passed from other clinical disciplines without resizing to fit social work. Even as social work research matures as a discipline it represents one element in a much broader composite which informs practice. This article takes a unique step back from the traditional research-practice discourse and examines the broader information landscape of social work practice, asking how practitioners inform their practice, rather than how research informs practice. This study explores the information needs that prompt practitioners to search for information, the strategies they employ, their acquisition of information and the uses to which the information is put. The study aims to elucidate the information behaviour with a view to improving dissemination and use. Findings demonstrate that the social work information base is substantially broader than has been suggested. Practitioners employ a pragmatic palette of strategies to navigate the breath of information that supports practice, from research through to knowledge sharing. The article proposes that a pragmatic framework of information behaviour is required to accurately reflect the information behaviour of social workers.