Evidence-based Practice Informed by Relational-centred Inquiry

By Gerard Bellefeuille, Catherine H. Hedlin and Jenny Rebecca McGrath.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

The relational-centred approach to inquiry presented in this paper is an attempt to bridge the gap between research and practice with the additional aim of promoting the evidence-based of Child and Youth Care (CYC) practice. In it, we provide a brief overview of the evidence-based practice (EBP) movement and its roots in logical positivism. Drawing on our past research experiences, we argue that the currently accepted epistemological assumptions of EBP are conceptually narrow and theoretically limiting, particularly in the context of complex human service practice. Finally, we present a relational-centred inquiry approach to EBP grounded in the epistemological assumption that all people are contextual social beings, in so much as we experience the world differently. However, while CYC provides the context for our discussion in this paper, we believe that a relational-centred inquiry approach to EBP is equally applicable across the spectrum of human service disciplines. The paper is an invitation to rethink fundamental assumptions of EBP and consider relational-centred inquiry as an approach to search for more effective ways to understand the lives of people we encounter as human service practitioners.

Keywords: Evidence-based, Relational-centred, Inquiry

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp.131-144. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 990.100KB).

Dr. Gerard Bellefeuille

Professor, Child and Youth Care, Grant MacEwan University, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Dr. Gerard Bellefeuille received his PhD in the School of Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria. Prior to entering university life in 2001, Gerard spent over 25 years working in the human services field in a variety of capacities. Gerard has co-authored three books, entitled Breaking the Rules: Transforming Governance in Social Services, All Together Now: Creating a Social Mosaic, and Standing on the Precipice: Inquiry into the creative potential of child and youth care practice. As well, Gerard has delivered keynote addresses and academic papers around the world including places like India, Brazil, New Zealand, Sweden, Italy, the United Kingdom, Denmark, the United States, and across Canada on a variety of human service topics.

Catherine H. Hedlin

Prof, Bachelor of Child and Youth Care, Faculty of Health and Community Services, Grant MacEwan University, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Jenny Rebecca McGrath

Instructor, Child and Youth Care Program, Health and Community Studies, Grant MacEwan University, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Jenny McGrath has been involved in the field of Child and Youth Care for approximately 15 years. She has worked in numerous settings which include group care, residential treatment programs, preschools, hospitals, after school care, youth custody, and family support. Jenny moved to Edmonton in 2006 from Newfoundland and Labrador to teach in the Bachelor of Child and Youth Care at MacEwan. She has a Master of Science in Family Support, is a Certified Canadian Family Educator and a Fully Certified Child and Youth Care Worker. She is currently Past President of the Child and Youth Care Association of Alberta. Her research interests include the use of activity in working with children, youth and families; family dynamics and support; and professionalism in Child and Youth Care. Jenny has presented on these topics numerous times in Canada and in Ireland.


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