A1 Journal article (refereed)
Client documents in social work with adults as research data : scoping review of opportunities and challenges (2022)

Kuorikoski, T. (2022). Client documents in social work with adults as research data : scoping review of opportunities and challenges. Nordic Social Work Research, Early online. https://doi.org/10.1080/2156857x.2022.2130406

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsKuorikoski, Tuija

Journal or seriesNordic Social Work Research



Publication year2022

Publication date05/10/2022

VolumeEarly online


Publication countryUnited States

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessPartially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/83503


Documentation is an integral part of social work. It is a tool in client work, and it also has an accountability perspective. Documentation helps the practitioners to evaluate their own work and makes it possible to assess the impact of work and develop practices. The use of client documents for research purposes has been identified as an option, but it is still quite rare. Moreover, little attention has been paid to social work with adults in this context. The development of electronic information systems (EIS), including structured forms, presents new research opportunities. Through documentation, it is possible to make tacit information visible and obtain evidence, for example, about the effects of adult social work. The aim of this review is to examine the use of adult social work client documents in research: what kinds of documents are used as data, what are the aims and methods of the studies, and especially what opportunities and challenges are associated with the client documents as research data? The review finds that the methods and research topics are diverse. It indicates that documentation has a low status in adult social work, and recording practices are inadequate; this has implications for the client’s position and involvement, the development and monitoring of social work, and the usability of such documents for research purposes. These findings are a matter of serious concern, and they are linked to the demanding working conditions and the recording cultures that prevail in organizations, as well as problems with information systems.

Keywordsadult social workdocumentationstoring and recordingfilesnotesdocumentsregisteringresearch

Free keywordssocial work with adults; recording; case files; case notes; documentation

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-15-06 at 01:45