Research at Grass Roots: For the Social Sciences and Human by A. S. De Vos

By A. S. De Vos

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Alternatively, “intelligence” is so defined and specified that it can be observed and measured. We can make observations of the intelligence of children by administering a particular intelligence test to them, or we can ask teachers to tell us the relative degrees of intelligence of their learners. Mouton and Marais (1990: 60; 127) explain that the fact that concepts acquire meaning, or even new meaning, within a conceptual framework such as a theory, a model, or a typology, has led philosophers of science to refer to such concepts as constructs.

Training in South Africa was Freudian, “diagnostic” and “psychosocial”. A comprehensive explication of the functional approach in social casework by Ruth E. Smalley appeared in 1967 (Theory for social work practice), but made no difference to the general framework of social work education and training in South Africa. In the 1960s training was influenced by a new voice, that of Helen Harris Perlman, who brought the “problem-solving process” back into casework with her pioneering Social casework: a problem-solving process (1957).

SUMMARY This chapter explains the nature of the sciences and the professions, sketching some aspects of the relationship between them. 25 Sections A&B 4/7/05 4:29 pm Page 26 Research in the human service professions SECTION A Science is described as a system for producing valid and correct knowledge, and the knowledge itself produced by that system (process and product). The knowledge system is broadly classified into the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. Three main approaches to social science are identified: positivist, interpretive and critical social science.

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