Clinical Assessment for Social Workers: Quantitative and Qualitative Methods, 4th ed., edited by Catheleen Jordan, Ph.D., & Cynthia Franklin, Ph.D., New York, NY: Oxford University Press, ISBN: 9780190656430, 2016, 409 pages, $89.95.
To help readers acquire the foundations of assessment, this fourth edition of Jordan and Franklin’s text is organized into four parts and ten well organized chapters. Both of these accomplished authors teach at the University of Texas at Arlington and possess years of practical experience and expertise in clinical assessment and intervention. They conceptualize clinical assessment as both an art and a science, and a lovely aspect across all four editions of this book is that the content equally covers and appreciates the beauty of both quantitative and qualitative methods in social work practice.
Thankfully, this edition continues to include a vast array of useful standardized assessment tools to help students, practitioners, and educators be flexible and masterful in their research and practice efforts. An indispensable cornucopia of measures, surveys, scales, and tests listed on pages ix and x makes this book “a keeper” for readers who’ve been assigned the book for coursework purposes. Upon graduation, or even in fieldwork, readers will enjoy having at their fingertips tables, figures, and boxes that are clearly laid out, replete with source reference information. Many of the tools found in this book are readily available in the public domain.
Across the pages, each chapter ends with a summary and succinct set of study questions that aid critical thinking and application. The book’s content allows readers to ascertain how multiple assessment instruments may be used with children, adolescents, and families. Table 8.4 aids in the assessment of caregiver stress, and Table 9.1 lists measures for four ethnic groups, as well as cross-cultural measures for ethnic minority children and families. Classic tools such as the Geriatric Depression Scale (Box 6.2 on page 224) and questions for use in solution-focused assessments (on page 28, Box 1.3) are useful.
This fourth edition examines the clear differences between assessment and diagnosis and boldly critiques the strengths and weaknesses of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5). Chapter 8, entitled “Families Who Are Multi-Stressed,” goes to the heart of assessing families who find themselves in oppressive situations experiencing environmental stress. Sub-headings and topics that are particularly noteworthy in Chapter 8 are (1) gay and lesbian families, and (2) child maltreatment in families.
The final section, Part IV (Assessing Outcome), does a nice job of addressing the importance of monitoring and evaluating outcomes of interventions being delivered to clients. An emphasis on EBP (evidence-based practice) is included herein, and additional information about how to use measures in research designs to ascertain whether clients are improving or not are unveiled. Chapter 10 gives readers several great resources for identifying interventions that are grounded in research evidence.
Once again, Jordan and Franklin have edited a book of substance—no fluff—in the company of fine chapter contributors who have done their homework. This book is worth the investment. Read, employ, and enjoy!
Reviewed by Lisa E. Cox, Ph.D., LCSW, MSW, Professor of Social Work and Gerontology, Stockton University.