This study was designed to explore the way that us e of theory influenced a social worker’s conceptualization of a simulated case. The participant in this case study was a woman employed in child welfare, who holds an MSW. She was chosen because her response in a larger study represented a deviant case. Data analysis included both thematic analysis and an analysis of a written report based on ideas taken from institutional ethnography. The authors use this case example to illustrate the ways that one’s understanding of theory may impact social work practice.


Technical-Rational Practice, Reflective Practice, Social Work Practice, and Institutional Ethnography


The authors wish to thank the College of Human Ecology at East Carolina University for providing funding for this project.

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