Departmental Papers (SPP)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version



Assessment procedures in social work emerged within the historical context of modernist empiricism. They are lodged in assumptions of objectivity, measurement accuracy, value neutrality and scientific expertise. Within the context of postmodern constructionism, the grounds for traditional assessment are thrown into question. While such critique may seem to threaten the assessment tradition, such a conclusion is unwarranted. Rather, one may locate within the assessment tradition and constructionist writings converging lines of thought. Through the collaborative extension of two assessment exemplars — the genogram and the ecomap — we suggest new and more promising potentials for assessment practices in social work.


Postprint version. This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in British Journal of Social Work following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version in Volume 35, Issue 5, May 2005, pages 689-708, is available online at:
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assessment, postmodern, social construction, genogram, ecomap

Included in

Social Work Commons



Date Posted: 19 December 2006

This document has been peer reviewed.